Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Beautiful Game

For a little while, back in the day, when I lived in London I played football for Crystal Palace women's team.  I think back then they were called Palace Eagles Ladies Football Club, or something like that.  I had to retire because I got pregnant and it's really hard to run around a pitch for 90 minutes with a bun in the oven. 
I would rather have played for Chelsea!
So when we emigrated to California it was nice to find out women's football was really getting a stronghold in the USA.  The world cup had just been played in Los Angeles and women everywhere decided it was to be the game for them.  Leagues were popping up all over the place and I managed to get onto an "over 30's" women's league.  (Yes, it was an old broad's league)  The standard wasn't high, but I hadn't played for quite a few years, so it worked for me.

Everything was going well, we even won a few games.  Every Sunday afternoon I was 'off to the match' for a nice bit of exercise - and then it happened.

I came across the one bloody woman who decided American football should be introduced into the rules of the English game.  I was a right back (yes a 5'2" defender) and she decided she was going to be a quarterback or receiver (I had to ask what this position was called as I have no clue).  Anyway, there I was in front of goal, with her coming at me, full speed, trying to score.  I tackled her, got the ball and then I felt it, a full powered shoulder and elbow shove into my back.  I went up into the air, did a somewhat ungraceful backwards somersault (so I've been told) and landed fully and very heavily on my right shoulder with a resounding *CRACK*  Even the keeper said she heard it!

Oh the pain, the agony of a broken collar bone!  I'd never been in an ambulance before and that was the most painful ride I've ever taken - and quite expensive too.

I heard a few days later that that particular American football aficionado had complained to the ref when the game was abandoned because she didn't see why they couldn't keep on playing and just move me off the pitch. (Nice!) I decided right then I didn't particularly like that lady (for lady read "bitch").

I never did play again.  I decided I was a bit too, um, old and seeing as I wasn't actually getting paid to play, I should  hang up my boots.  (or cleats as they are inexplicably called in Americaland).
I then spent all my weekends ferrying my kids around southern California to their own football games.  And do you know what, not once did they find a child who thought they were playing American football.  At least the kids get it, kind of.

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