Part Two: A Tiny Victory
Current Standings: 1 win, 3 losses
I’ve spent much of my life suppressing the part of my brain that gets all fired up about sports. I don’t actively hate sports, I just never really cared enough to play sports, watch sports, or wear shirts exclaiming that a certain sports team performs homosexual oral sex. But when you’re running around a soccer field getting trounced by a crew of meatheads, there’s a reptilian impulse deeply ingrained in the male brain that makes you want to push back and say things like “what are you looking at?” We’ll come back to this shortly…
On the heels of our defeat by those mysterious Evastradas (their name makes me wish they wore Mexican wrestling masks), the Cobras returned to the Dome raring to go for the next game. The other team came in raring to play, too – all five of them. As this is four short of the number necessary to hold a proper match, we split up and had a fun scrimmage, which we actually managed to lose.
So, the Cobras racked up their first win. Against ourselves. By forfeit.
The confidence earned through this glorious victory-by-technicality carried us into the stadium for our next game, this time against the number-one-ranked team: Portland United. I don’t remember a whole lot about this match, but I’m sure they were playing with at least three extra players on the field the whole time. I also believe they were wearing rocket-skates.
After holding them to just two goals in the first half, we sadly imploded into a sweaty mess in the second, allowing at least another five goals, maybe more. I think the referee stopped keeping score, a development that does nothing to boost one’s hopes for a late-game comeback. Regardless, fun and sportsmanship ruled the day.
Things took a distinctly different turn during the next game, against a portly crew representing a certain diner that purports to be “finah” than other local diners. Many of these players showed up with Portland Boxing jackets on. All those blows to the head may have gotten them confused on the way to the ring, because they seemed to have gotten the two sports confused. Boxing is the one where you punch, shove people and talk shit all night. Soccer is the one where you use your feet.
The game got rougher and rougher until, inevitably, a shoving match broke out. A kafuffle ensued, during which jokes were made about a certain team eating too many diner sausage patties, and red cards came out, followed by hilarious, sarcastic clapping by several Cobras. The culmination was a cheap, from-behind push that resulted in a broken Cobra collarbone.
Way to break the shoulder of a professional photographer without health insurance, buddy!
All that said, beer is always good to douse the embers of a smoldering temper – though, oddly, more beer tends to reignite it – and I soon found myself in a conciliatory conversation with an opposing player at the bar. After a while, he confided to me that our heroic post-game efforts there had him a bit concerned.
“I really don’t care what happens on the field, but we don’t want anyone out-drinking us,” he said.
Ah… a tiny victory.