Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Post-Traumatic Sports

one of the largest facets of being a soldier is physical fitness. i have to be up front with my current lack of adherence to the army's "standards," but luckily i am in the national guard, where you can fly under the radar with a spare tire or two. sports have always been my way of keeping in shape. i have only been on a handful of sports teams since high school, but most were soccer leagues that encouraged post-game drinking and the like.

as some of you may have read, i was recently involved in what some might call a 'soccer miracle' that ended with an 11-day absence from work due to a superficial leg wound. since that has healed, our flag football season has started. we play on the same surface as before (consisting of sand, small rocks, big rocks, and sand), only this time i am aware of what might happen if you should choose to get daring and slide around on your knees. our team is lacking skills in only one critical area. sadly, this area is the 'actually winning games' category. we have the heart, the skills, and the drive to achieve greatness, but seem unable to get a second 'W.'

now let me explain something about flag football: it is more like golf with running than actual football. if you make contact with another player, it is most likely illegal. i'm not talking about your black-and-white 'good touch/bad touch' here since a lot of this falls into a flag football gray area. you are allowed to grab an opponent's flags, but you are not allowed to miss and accidentally grab, say, his shirt. if you get his shirt, this results in a penalty that causes a loss or gain of yards. the officials base their penalization on the strict and time-honored principle of 'whichever team is whining more vehemently.' this brings sporting to a new level, since the officials keep in mind that players on both teams are in possession of firearms and bad words.

activities like sports, running, and going to the gym are great morale-boosters here. losing games detracts from morale and adds to the frustration most of the troops here are already feeling. to anyone out there who might be on the opposing team for tonight's game: let us win. it is vital to the progress of our great country that our spirits stay high enough to deal with the daily rigors of sitting around, sitting around with gear on, and sitting around wearing gear while operating a vehicle.

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