In Fall 2017 I decided that it was time to start working on my bucket-list, item #117: play an actual game of soccer. There are other items on my bucket-list too, but I figured I better try this one soon since I am not getting any younger. This is the impetus for my new team: Total Chaos.
I’ve coached soccer for 3 years (my daughter’s team) for Norman Youth Soccer Association (NYSA) . When I started then, I had very little understanding of the game. I knew that most of the players were not supposed to use their hands, but any rules other than that were a bit vague…
Anyway, I’ve wanted to play soccer for years, but starting out as a complete newbie with such a demanding and skilled sport like futbol over the age 40, well, it was somewhat of daunting thing to do. The options were: (1) try to join an existing team and then ultimately disappoint all of the other players with my complete lack of skill or… (2) start my own team from scratch with the understanding that (a) everyone is welcome — even newbies and old people — and (b) we will not likely win. That is, set expectations low: so low in fact that no one has a right to be disappointed with any outcome! I opted for the latter. NYSA has an adult league, and thus I started recruiting for my new team…
To make a long story short, the response to my invitation “do you want to play soccer in a league even if we have no chance of winning any games?” — was a resounding yes. Soccer mom’s and dad’s, friends, OU faculty, and both grad and undergrad students in ISE for some reason found the idea appealing. My wife, who like me, has never played the sport in her life even joined up. Thankfully, not everyone that answered the call was a complete newbie, because several of us needed teachers!
The student becomes the teacher…
In this case, literally “the students become the teachers” — Jack, Austin, Leslie, and Brad are all undergrads who took my ISE 4113 course in Fall 2017 and now they had their work cut out for them trying to teach me what to do on the field. Joining them we also have Darin, Nicole, Andrew, and Yasser — all PhD or MS students in either ISE or DSA.
Now, while our defense is not this bad:
without Jack Appleyard leading the defense, it could be much worse (I’m on defense you see — which does not give Jack much to work with!) so he is almost a one man team in the backfield — saving our collective butts more than once keeping it from being the total chaos it would’ve been otherwise!
Brad “the slide tackle ninja” Osborn, Austin Shaw, “the king of awesome”, and Leslie “the beast” Barnes head-up the midfield and offense and simply rock the pitch…
Darin Chambers — who happens to also be a political candidate running for State Representative District 46 — is a fellow soccer dad and great teammate and leader. Yasser, a PhD student in ISE has both published research with me and taught me how to defend and pass. Nicole and Andrew, both new to the game, are simply fearless. Pravin, who is going up for tenure at OU the same time as me, has stepped up to help play keeper after our first keeper was injured. Finally, Everton, Omar, Nery, Marco, Justin, Alicia, and Greg — are all new friends.
In summary — we have a great team: a great mix of ages, genders, languages, skills, and backgrounds. Thanks for helping me mark off an item on my bucket-list I’ve dreamed to do for years. The team pic below is missing a few players, so I’ll update it later, but here we are: Total Chaos.
Finally, despite my hand-balls and/or fouls in the box and/or missed passes and/or bad throw-ins (sorry about all that…) — so far we’ve played two games and won both.
Left to Right — Back: Everton, Omar, Marco, Justin, Jack, Brad, Austin, Pravin, Greg, Charles, Andrew, Nicole; Front: Yasser, Alicia, Zorelly