I consider myself an extremely Americanized individual. I take off my hat when the American flag is present; I love to eat the meatiest, cheesiest food I can find, and I spend every weekend parked in front of the TV watching American football. (I mean, I have to see how my fantasy players are doing right?) Well it just so happens that the other brand of football, the one that Americans only remember exists during the World Cup, is the very thing keeping me in shape these days.
In my high school days, I would have laughed at the soccer players and their peculiar brand of sport. Really, what kind of sport doesn’t allow you to use your hands? I was a “real” football player. Over the past few years though I have developed a great appreciation for the sport of soccer.
In college, not exactly looking like the spawn of the Juggernaut, I found that my size limited me to being able to compete in sports that didn’t require me to carry around the proverbial “gun show.” (That, and the fact that the friends that I played sports with at college were all members of the PC gaming club.) They’re great guys, but somehow don’t tend to put together the best flag football team. If only they allowed the use of the turbo button in intramurals, we might have a chance.
For some reason though, my gamer buddies manage to do alright on the soccer field. Of course, there are those guys who would never leave their room for fear of missing out on a moment of World of Warcraft, but those guys seem to be able to run around on a field all day with no problem.
My soccer experience previous to college consisted of a mere two years in elementary school. The pursuit of the coveted intramural championship was enough for me to give soccer a try in college. If that was the only sport that my friends were going to be decent at, then I had to get good at it too.
After a week of practice and being sore from the chest down, I started to realize how out of shape I was. My body started noticing the differences right away. My motivation to run on my own at the gym had died when I stopped playing high school sports, but soccer was a fun way for me to get the benefits of running without feeling like I was working at it.
I found myself asking the guys who played in high school how to get better. These were the very same guys who I would have given a hard time to about being soccer players. It really helped me see that maybe there are valid sports out there that don’t require you to hit someone as hard as you can.
That’s not to say that I won’t be sitting in front of the TV with a fantasy stat sheet in hand this weekend, but maybe next time I see some guys playing soccer, I won’t let my foolish pride get in the way of a good way to make friends and knock off a few of those pounds that I gained watching football on Sunday.
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