I have never been good at team sports where balls are used. Honestly I've never been able to get over my fear of the ball itself... don't like it being hit, kicked or thrown my way. I can barely throw or catch. And I really don't like to let my team down, so individual sports like running are more my speed.
But I also strive to be a good sport, and to help where I'm needed. So when Bess asked me to fill in for her on the flag football team, I agreed, knowing how much I appreciate those who help me out with our track roster.
I put in about 2 hours of practice last night, and last Thursday night, scrimmaging against SHB in the Liberty Memorial field. It was fast. It was fun. It flared up intense hip pain from last year's injury. But I loved getting to know Damon, Amie, Kevin and the gang, so I tried my hardest and stuck it out. Brittney, Caroline, Shereal from SHB were a ton of laughs too.
Tonight the matches were held at Mid America Sports Complex, west of 435, among the 24+ softball fields. We met as a team and chatted excitedly, warmed up, and took the field. I was playing defense, so that my lack of throwing and catching skills would be less of a hindrance. My chief job was to rush the quarterback over & over and to try to look as fierce as intimidating as a 5'1", 98 pound woman can look. Damon yelled, "HUNDRED YARD DASH! HUNDRED YARD DASH!!!" from the sidelines to spur me on.
We won the first game against JOCO (Johnson County, KS government) easily. We were so on our level and playing well as a team that I got a false sense of security about the upcoming games. Janet was there as always, taking photos and cheering us on.
Twenty minutes later, we began game two, against Children's Mercy Hospital, who apparently don't understand the meaning of "mercy." They weren't as athletic as we were, but they had their strategy down and called plays at the line without a huddle. They played fast and intensely, and absolutely throttled us. Yes, the people caring for your sick children are cruel and ruthless football players!
So in order to stay in it and have the chance to play on Sunday, we needed to win our third game against KCMO (Kansas City, MO government). We were in it the whole time, and lost by a point. A measly point. One of their ladies caught a ball that I should have been able to defend, and it led to a touchdown that changed the balance of the game. Cue it!
While I didn't expect much from myself (yet played as hard as I could), the hardest part was seeing the disappointment and frustration on coach Damon's face. He noted that at least we learned what we need to do to win next year, and I admired his observation and determination.
Track starts Monday, and my hips are hurting so much now that I'm actually hoping I won't have to run. But as always, I'll hang in there and do my best.