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This Is Why We Don’t Say “Break A Leg” Before Sporting Events

, , , , | Friendly | November 22, 2021

My husband is in a recreation soccer league with other adults, ranging in ages from twenty to forty. Obviously, it’s a competitive league, but not even close to pro, as the term “recreation” would suggest. One day, I decide to go watch his game.

About fifteen minutes into the game, I watch [Teammate] get tackled pretty brutally by a member of the opposing team. However, it quickly becomes evident that this is not JUST a brutal tackle. [Teammate #1] goes down HARD and yells in agony. A crowd immediately gathers, and the next few moments are a blur of his teammates trying to clear out the crowd and running back and forth between [Teammate] and the sideline, carrying various things over to him.

After a while, my husband comes over.

Husband: “That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. He was tackled so hard in the calf that his tibia was sticking out of his leg!”

Thankfully, [Teammate] had incredible help, as there was a nurse and a paramedic on the team, and I saw the two of them bent over [Teammate] until the ambulance arrived, and it drove right onto the field.

Here’s the worst part, though. The referee was struggling to keep up with the play, so he did not call a foul, because he did not see it. Yes, even though there was a guy on the field with his leg split open and a bone sticking out. I heard the guy may have had a hearing with the league, but no one is sure anything came out of it, because, again, the ref technically did not see the incident.

If this wasn’t all bad enough… the guy did not apologize! He stood around the group of players surrounding [Teammate] and kept making awkward comments, like, “Yeah, we were just kind of going for the ball at the same time, and his leg kind of hit mine here.” He was not apologetic whatsoever.

[Teammate] was in the hospital for almost a week, after obviously having surgery and being closely monitored for signs of infection. I hope he’ll be well enough to play next season!

This Official Is Officially Inattentive

, , , , , | Working | October 11, 2021

In soccer, the officials have the discretion to “card” players for unsportsmanlike conduct or other flagrant rule violations. A yellow card gets a player a temporary suspension from the game; red cards get the player removed from the game altogether.

When I was a kid, my dad played in a recreational soccer league for fun and for exercise. He’s level-headed, calm, and rational… and this is the story of how he got his one and only card in soccer.

Dad played striker, one of the main scoring positions. One game, a teammate passed him the ball and Dad dribbled it down the field to take a shot on goal. One of the other team’s defenders slide-tackled Dad from behind, in blatant violation of both the league’s rules and “just playing for fun” spirit. 

Dad picked himself up off the ground and turned to the official, who had yet to blow his whistle to stop play as he should have.

Dad: “Are you gonna call that?”

The official shook his head.

Official: “I didn’t see anything.”

Dad: *Frustrated* “I had the ball; where were you looking?”

The official silently held up a yellow card and sent Dad to the sidelines.

Some Coaches Are More Hands-On Than Others

, , , , , | Friendly | October 11, 2021

One fall Friday, I took my two-year-old Dalmatian — named Coach, for obvious reasons — to watch my seventeen-year-old son’s football team play another local team. The game was played in the afternoon, so Coach and I easily found first-row bleacher seats near midfield. My son was a defensive back, and with constant player substitutions, I sometimes had trouble figuring out where he was on the field, but not Coach.

In the game’s third quarter, [Son] fielded a punt and started to run upfield before being gang-tackled by opposing team members. Suddenly, Coach pulled the leash from my hand and ran onto the field, literally jumping on top of the pile of players and growling and ferociously protecting [Son]. For a few short moments, it was pure bedlam, with players disentangling from the pile and retreating more quickly than most had probably ever run before on a football field.

I ran, too, straight onto the field, yelling Coach’s name as loudly as I could — confusing all the real team coaches, I am sure. I grabbed the leash and walked the dog back to our bleacher row seat. No one was hurt, thankfully, but a few minutes later, the referee blew his whistle to stop the game and came over to our sideline seats.

Referee: “Mister, you are going to have to move the dog. The other team is afraid to run to your side of the field.”

We watched the rest of the game from the other side of the field, and while it didn’t happen, I truly believe if my son had tried to return another punt, he could have walked the whole way untouched.

Unmasking Your Scheme

, , , , | Right | September 3, 2021

I am selling tickets to a baseball game. Masks are only required outdoors in my state for the unvaccinated. We are not checking everyone’s vaccination status, but as discounted youth tickets are only available for those under twelve, and kids under twelve can’t get vaccinated yet here, the assumption is that everyone buying a youth ticket will need a mask. Two adults and one child come up to the ticket window.

Customer: “Two adult tickets and one youth ticket, please.”

Me: “How old is he?”

Customer: “He’s eleven.”

Me: “Then that will be [price] and he will need to wear a mask.”

Customer: “Oh. He’s actually twelve years old and vaccinated. I just said he was eleven to get the discount.”

Me: “Okay, then that will be [higher price].”

There Is No Joy In Mudville

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 2, 2021

I have been playing baseball since I was about eight years old and this story takes place when I am eleven, in 1991.

There are a couple of league rules for our age group and the most important one is no cleating. For anyone unaware, this means that when you slide into base, you are not allowed to put your foot in the air with the spikes/cleats on the bottom of your shoe into the person guarding the base. You have to keep your feet down when sliding. Anyone that cleats will be kicked out of the game and suspended for other games or kicked from the league, depending on the infraction.

The season has just started, we’re only a few games in, and everyone is having fun. Today is the day my mom is volunteering at the concession stand, so she’s not down by the field watching my game. She can see us playing from where she’s at, but she can’t pay attention to all of the game since she’s helping people. My dad is working; he can’t be at the game at the start and will be around about halfway through.

The game is still pretty early, just starting the third inning. I’m put in to replace the pitcher. I take over the mound and there is a runner on third. The runner is the biggest kid in our league. He’s in sixth grade, but he’s already a good foot taller than most of us and weighs a good sixty pounds more than most of us, too. 

I strike out the first batter I go up against. Two more outs to end this inning.

The next batter hits a pop fly out to shallow right-center field. The outfielder comes in and makes the catch, and the runner on third tags up on the base and starts to run to home plate, but he holds up as the outfielder throws the ball to the catcher. Unfortunately, the throw from the outfielder is wide and the ball goes behind the catcher and rolls to the backstop. My job now is to help cover home plate. The catcher runs back to the ball, turns, and tosses to me. Because the throw to home plate was bad, the runner on third runs home in an attempt to score.

I’m now straddling the side of home plate, waiting for the ball to come to me so I can attempt to tag the runner out. I catch the ball and swing my glove down to make the tag, but the runner slides into home and cleats me. He ends up cleating my left arm, kicking my arm out of the way, and forcing me to drop the ball. At the time, it doesn’t hurt, and I turn around to take a few steps to where the ball landed. I go to scoop the ball off the ground with my glove, and when I try to turn my arm, that’s when the pain strikes me. I drop to the ground in agony, clenching my left arm.

One of the other parents runs up to the concession stand and gets my mom. She comes over with a bag of ice and we end up leaving for the ER to get x-rays.

About thirty minutes after my mom and I leave, my dad shows up and he sits in the bleachers and starts watching the game. After about fifteen minutes, he notices that he doesn’t see me on the field and asks one of the moms sitting near him where I am. The lady tells him what happened and that I left to go to the ER.

My dad looks at the lady, with a deadpan face, and asks, “Did he make the out?”

The lady is so upset with my dad’s lack of concern — because she doesn’t understand that he’s joking — that she punches him in the arm, actually leaving a bruise, and tells him he should be ashamed of himself. My dad tries to tell her he was joking, but she wants nothing more to do with him.

The kid that cleated me broke my arm, and he is never kicked out of the game or suspended for cleating. In fact, he never receives any kind of disciplinary action against him… probably because he is the kid of one of the coaches. The kid develops a bad habit of cleating others until someone gets tired of it and cleats the kid back.

X-rays show a fractured ulna, and because some strain is put on the ulna when you twist your forearm, I can’t just have a short cast put on. I have to have a full arm cast — from my hand to my bicep — for six weeks.

I spend the summer being unable to do most things — playing ball, hitting up the pool with friends, and wrestling. The upside is that my mom feels so bad for me that she takes my younger brother and me to an amusement park. I can ride some of the roller coasters, and as we stand in line for a ride, one of the employees sees me and asks why I am waiting in line and not using the accessible entrance. He says I should be using that entrance and gives us a pass to use them. We get to bypass the long lines and I have a blast that day.