Issue 34 · November 2021

Art & Lit

Pickup

 

Pickup soccer is the closest I’ve come to my perfect community. There are all sorts of people from all sorts of professions, from a Swedish singer and yoga accompanist to a burrito shop worker to a Christian Science camp director. Some of the older players can barely run, while others (often young adult children of the older players) are current college players. I didn’t even think of the group of people who played soccer together as a community, just people who happened to like soccer. 

But it was a community: pre-Covid we had parties and coffee after games, and we had holiday family games and we chatted on the sidelines. Some current college players came to games where they knew that perhaps a third of the people there could run, and maybe a sixth of them could actually play, simply to do so with their friends. 

On my own soccer teams, where the kids are my age, sometimes from my town or school, I’ve never really made friends. So I never expected to make any here. But in this group, I have. We’ll talk about soccer, especially the rotating cast of injuries prevalent in the older players, but also about our lives. Because everyone is from all over, and lives in totally different social circles, you get to hear all sorts of awesome stories, and hear about lives unlike your own. People appreciate my zany jokes, and I like theirs. It’s a very accepting place. All you have to do is walk on the field (whether you're good at soccer or not), and be nice to everyone, and you’ll be embraced into the strangest, and nicest, community I’ve ever been in.

Sue Kelman