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Nshima & Curry
Nshima & Curry
SOCCER INJURIES MULTIPLY WITH AGE
If you've ever thought about getting into shape, you need to
take lessons from me. I'm an active guy. Not only do I jog
regularly (to the pizza shop), I also walk every single day
(to my mailbox). And as if that isn't enough exercise, I'm
even playing in a soccer league this summer. It's an over-30
league, which means that all the players, without exception,
must be at least 30 pounds overweight.
I don't want to brag, but after three games, my statistics
are nothing short of remarkable: three goals, one assist and
four injuries. The injuries include a pulled hamstring, a
strained quadriceps and a sprained ankle. I won't even
mention the injuries I've inflicted on others. I don't want
to provide any evidence for their lawsuits.
Perhaps it's called an over-30 league because every game
seems to produce over 30 injuries. (That's an unofficial
number. It doesn't include any injuries suffered by
referees, either during the game or soon after.)
Injuries occur partly because soccer is a contact sport.
Players in my league contact each other, contact the ground,
and, every once in a while, contact the ball. Pretty soon,
they're also contacting their doctor.
But in an over-30 league, you don't need contact to get
injured. All you need is motion. Any motion. Some players,
eager to help their teams, get injured while jumping out of
their cars. Others get injured while running toward the
field. A few get injured while stretching. That's why, to
minimize injuries, I've decided to give up stretching. I
don't want to take any chances.
Considering the frequency of injuries, it's no wonder
players are required to sign a waiver, promising not to sue
the league. Players are also asked to protect themselves by
wearing shin guards and, if they're smart, bringing their
own stretchers. A few bright players also wear jock cups,
knowing that the world doesn't produce enough aspirin.
But regardless of the injuries, the over-30 league is quite
competitive. Not all the players are in poor shape. Yes,
some do get tired quickly, but others can maintain great
intensity, without taking a breather, for at least an entire
minute. Perhaps even two minutes.
Being an over-30 soccer player does have a few advantages.
You have lots of experience and you can think fast. You know
exactly what to do with the ball. If only you could get to
As I've come to realize, soccer isn't a sport designed for
older people. There's far too much distance between the
goals. It would be a lot easier if the game were played
inside one of the goals.
It would also help if the ball weren't so round. It rolls a
little too fast. That wouldn't be a problem if we could play
with several balls at once. When you have 22 guys trying to
kick a single ball, you're asking for trouble.
It's a good thing my league has referees. They do a good job
of keeping the game under control, especially when they're
awake. (Players sometimes have to shout, "Wake up, ref.
Didn't you see the foul?" That's yet another downside of
America's growing problem of sleep deprivation.)
Even with all the injuries and limitations, soccer is an
enjoyable sport -- no matter your age. I paid $35 to get
into the league, so my expectations are high. I'll be very
disappointed if we finish the season without a single pizza
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