It's Gotta Be The Shoes

I just started writing this post with an idea in mind and realized I deviated a bit. And it got pretty long. But I was feeling the flow and just went with it. If you like it: good, but I enjoyed writing it so . . . there. This evening's admission: I'm a'feared of getting old.

No, I'm not concerned about mo' money and mo' problems. I'm just afraid of slowing down. Recently I've encountered some thirty-somethings who look and move a lot slower than I do. I'm trying to stave off the effects of aging as long as possible. So I've been pushing myself, even in these winter months, to do more athletically. I'm playing basketball a couple mornings a week and playing indoor soccer on the weekends. When I get some extra time, I work out over at Xavier.

It should be noted: I suck at basketball. I play for the exercise. And I hate lifting weights and treadmills. But I love soccer. And I'm somewhat good at it. So it's my athletic passion. I was playing co-ed soccer this past session and, despite my age, my game has emerged. I've actually become one of the better players on our team. When I played in college I was not a goal scorer but in co-ed I am. Last week I scored two goals in the first three minutes. I've never had a hat-trick and tried the rest of the game but was unsuccessful. So I thought I was pretty awesome.

Until last week.

Some guys I've played with before asked me to play in a men's league and I was excited about getting to play without chicks on the field. I went in ready to go and . . . played . . . horrible. The pace was much faster than co-ed I didn't do anything well. And it really depressed me for a couple of days. That fear of losing a step gripped me.

But then I recognized that I actually love the higher level of competition. Even though I sucked, I wanted to come back and go at it again. I have since decided that I'm going to keep playing soccer into my forties. And I need to start playing in competitive men's leagues [scaling back my co-ed play] so I can keep that fire going. So in keeping with this resolution, I needed to go out and get a new set of cleats. Another admission: I love soccer cleats. I can't wait until I force Kaelyn Kaelyn decides to play soccer and I can buy her little soccer boots.

I've had the same pair of Adidas Copas since 1996. Copas are the perfect soccer cleat: black kangaroo leather, classic look, awesome. I bought a size 8.5 [half a size too small], showered while wearing them to stretch the leather around my feet, and reveled in the perfect fit. They're not falling apart yet, but I have a feeling that they're going to rip sometime soon. And I need to have a pair broken in if/when those die. But a new pair of Copas would cost towards $100 and I don't play enough anymore to justify dropping that much cash on cleats. So I did some more looking around and got a great sale on the current cheap version of the Copa [the Telstar], but have yet to shower in them. I'll keep you posted when I get around to that.

That guys league team needed another player tonight so I went back for round two, new shoes and all. This time I was intent on playing better and making things happen. Ironically, we were playing a team of young guys [what seemed to be local high school varsity players] but I easily ran with them. I took some hard shots on goal, had a couple of assists and felt like I redeemed myself. I finally felt back at home on the field.

All I want to do is go out and compete as long as possible. It might be gone tomorrow, but at least I have today.

And I really don't think it was the shoes, but I felt good out there tonight.

And I like feeling good . . . and abandoning that fear'dedness.