Last night I had the option of either attending and possibly participating in my friend's open mic night, or going to my weekly pick-up soccer game on the LES. I feel bad that I keep missing my friend's gig, because I wouldn't mind getting back up on a microphone and clearing my book a little.
The last time I did open mic stand up was over 3 years ago at Train Wreck, a comic open mic at the Parkside Lounge way east on Houston St in Manhattan. It was election night, 2004. Most of my material at the time had a political bent, and the resulting re-confirmation of the idiocy of 54% of the American voting public the next day just broke me. I couldn't do any of that material again. I imagined Jon Stewart, drunk, stumbling into the Daily Show studio, hoping to wake up from the national nightmare that has been George W. Bush.
But now things are looking up(wards), and I'm perhaps ready to dive back into the waters of the open mic. This one is casual and relaxed; I wouldn't really have to prepare anything, just go up and rattle on about some topic or other.
However, this past weekend's reminder of my aging was too strong an argument to go and get some exercise, so off I went, and I'm glad I did. I had a really great and fun game; actually showed some ball control for once, scored a couple of goals, had some rather impressive defensive plays and earned the nickname of Samurai Ninja Warrior. I know, original right? He's Asian and athletic... he MUST be a Samurai/Ninja! Grin and bear it, Shy... the revolution's coming soon.
Anyway, I've been having such a blast rediscovering my soccer legs. I can't believe I've gone almost two decades without playing this game regularly. I grew up playing soccer, absolutely adored it, yet quit my senior year of high school out of some idiotic fear that I might get cut from varsity squad. Terrible, terrible decision.
It truly IS the "beautiful game." I appreciate it now in a way I never did when I was younger. In a way, I think the crappy, selfish play of a number of the participants actually highlights what a beautiful game it is - when the ball hogs dribble around in circles and don't pass, it feels (and looks) unbalanced and out of whack. A complete mess. On the other hand, when good, team-oriented players move down the field, pushing and passing, giving and going, it's just gorgeous. Yeah, it can be fun to watch a really good ball handler dribble around a bunch of defenders. But the real joy of the game is when the ball moves from player to player - that's magic.