Monday, September 25, 2006

Are You Ready for some Futbol???

Nothing seems more "American" than a crisp fall air and a game of pickup football. These "Americans" would agree...

Of course, to be technically correct, they are South Americans, the game is "futbol" (soccer) and I guess it's crisp Spring air this time of year.

I got invited to go play some futbol with some Uruguayos. I was so amped to join in on the national passtime I managed to supress my horror at hearing the game would begin at 7. I was incredibly relieved later to find out that the game was actually being played at 7 PM...not AM as I had feared.

I was further relieved to hear that it would be played on a miniaturized version of a field (less running!) and the game would only last an hour vs. the more typical 1.5 hours....

As it turns out, i was being invited to participate in a game of "cincos" -- five on five -- often played (as in this case) on rugged aritificial turf with miniaturized goals and a mini-field. Although I'd never played "cincos" a friend had told me just a week before that he was constructing a "cincos" field in Costa Rica complete with walls, roof (for weather I imagine), lights, etc. Apparently, it's all the rage. As you might imagine, it's easier to get together 10 people to play, than the traditional 22, and people pay to 'rent' the fields by the hour.

I blame my ignorance of cincos to the fact that I haven't played soccer in YEARS, and to the fact that the US just isn't as "into" the sport as they are south of the border (and elsewhere).

When we arrived at the field, from the condition of the "turf" it was clear that it was getting a LOT of use, and it had likely been in use for some number of years. The "turf" wasn't astroturf, but basically, that green plastic fake grass crap that people put on their patios(or used in bad Easter displays in stores) in the 70's glued to the concrete subfloor.....slide tackles are a no-no, and falling down is discouraged as my still noticeable limp (days after) will attest.

This field had neither roof, nor walls, but lights. The fields are down by the water -- which is probably a nice feature on a warmer night. That night, my lungs were no match for the cold air. Luckily, we took turns playing "keeper" and right about the time I was about to pass out and take a "header" into the plastic turf it was my turn in goal.

It is a really good way to meet a bunch of locals, and even better if you have any kind of fitness or ball skills. All in all, it was a ton of fun, and I fully intend on trying to get in shape and "represent" for the US on the off chance I'm "reinvited" -- as soon as I can walk again.


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