This week beat me up. Seriously. Not even my weekend was relaxing (nor the past two weekends, to be exact). But when J. Miguel asked me if I’d wake up early today to watch him play soccer in a new local league he has joined, I knew it was important for me to show my support. For the past several weeks, Sundays have been his time to be with the guys, and I’ve never objected to that. So I kind of felt it was a big deal that he was letting me in on his secret world today.
His team is mostly comprised of Colombian-Americans. J. Miguel is one of two Peruvians on the team that I know of. I think the team’s unique composition is because the coach is Colombian-American and also the owner of a local construction company (that most likely employs many area Latinos who may or may not be part of the team).
And I have to say, the team’s coach is a pretty colorful guy. He stands on the sidelines yelling in Spanish — except when he’s yelling at the refs — and one of the most memorable English lines that came from him today was when he threatened to sue the referees for not penalizing players from the other team who were allegedly playing recklessly.
Anyway, unfortunately J. Miguel’s team lost this week (as they have every week this season). J. Miguel is pretty realistic about it all. “The average age of our team is 30 and up,” he told me today. “Many of the teams we are playing are comprised of college kids or those in their 20s. We’re all a bunch of old guys with families and beer bellies playing against kids who can run up and down this field like it’s nothing. I remember those days. I just wish I could have that same energy as I had back then.”
Me too, J. Miguel. Me too.
So even though it meant waking up super early, I’m glad I went. In a way, it was a relaxing time for me because I didn’t have to think for a change. (For example, I spent all day Saturday at a first-time homebuyer’s class — I’m glad I went, but after a demanding week at work, it was kind of the last thing I wanted to do for an entire day.)
J. Miguel has asked me to come to his game next Sunday as well to take more pictures of the team so I guess this means Sundays are for soccer now! I don’t mind — it’s a great way for us to bond and a unique opportunity for me to embed myself into the area’s Latino-American community — a community that for the most part, has been strictly J. Miguel’s, but one that he is gradually inviting me into.