It was a sporty weekend
Monday, July 23, 2018
Friday featured a 100% chance of rain at 7 PM, with the few hours before and after ranging between that number and a 50% chance of rain. So, to plan to go outdoors and do something, like watching two games of 4th tier American semipro soccer between 4 and 10 was pretty much asking to get soaked. But I went and did it anyway, because AFC Ann Arbor, the team I'd been following all summer long was hosting the NPSL Midwest Regionals, featuring a Cleveland team, one from Duluth, MN, and one from Minneapolis, which, coincidentally, has a friend of mine on their club's advisory board. Mind you, I haven't ever actually met her, but she married someone who I've been talking to on line for, what, 23 years now, so I adopted her as a friend. Come to think of it, I've never met him in person, either.
All that said, it turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous night, with only the briefest of scattered sprinkles at about 730, just as the second game got under way. Ann Arbor won that night, and the fans went home happy. Well, not the ones from Cleveland, but they were pretty rude. Besides, I woke up that morning to a credit card fraud alert from the Columbus, Ohio area, so it served those residents of the WORST.STATE.EVER right. In related news, I'm getting a new credit card soonish.
Saturday featured more of the same type of forecast, and the soccer game scheduled for 730 was once again threatened with a soaking. But in the meantime...I went and, for the first time ever, played in a legitimate game of cricket. It's a baseball like sport, big in England and many of their former colonies, including India. Played on an oval, with a strip in the middle with wickets at either end. The bowler (pitcher) throws (overhand, with a straight elbow, usually bouncing the ball) from one end of the strip, to the batter at the other end, who can hit it in any direction. Outs are made by the bowler hitting the wicket, or a batted ball getting caught on the fly. Which of course is made more complicated by the batter being able to hit it to all directions!
You see, we had a Bengali (a state in the northeast of India, home to the city of Kolkata) community picnic, which consisted of two groups which had once been a single organization, but split long ago over topic like how to organize religious celebrations, or how to put on kids talent shows. Basic political BS, in other words. The acrimony may or may not still be going on, I really haven't a clue. But in one sense, the rivalry does persist, and that's in the annual cricket game, contested at high noon during the joint community picnic they put on together. I went out to my brother's house after the Friday night soccer game, in order to attend the picnic, and really, just hang out with the nephew. After the rains, which finally hit, and in decent quantities, left the game delayed, and a couple of people absent, I just kind of wandered out on the field, more or less, and got in the game.
I didn't get to hit, as the side I joined (the one that I went to while growing up, and the one which my brother is a board member for these days) batted well enough to get through the allotted pitches without making ten outs. The other side wasn't so fortunate, though, as my team played some great defense, and made some great catches. I even contributed two catches, standing in a spot akin to where a on deck circle would be on a baseball diamond. I don't know if those batters were attempting to hit it in my direction, or if they essentially fouled it off (like I said above, that's a legit play in cricket), but I took care of them, barehanded, as cricket is played.
Having helped deliver glory to our side of the community, I drove back to Ann Arbor to see AFCAA play Duluth in the Midwest Final, for a shot at the NPSL Final Four. Once again, the weather in Ann Arbor was fantastic, but this time, the game didn't go as well as the night before. Though Ann Arbor tied the game deep in stoppage time, snatching a lifeline from the jaws of defeat, they fell in a penalty kick shootout, the most agonizing way to go out of a tournament.
I guess Sunday was not a sporty day, in the end, I must have still been disappointed from the way the soccer season ended. But fear not, I went back out to Ford Lake Park this morning and played a couple hours of pickleball, so the sportiveness (sportsitivity?) lives on!