Title: Football: The City League, “B” Division, Hiroshima
Location: Inokuchi JHS
Description: This could be the last game for the David English House team since the school shut down a few months ago.
Start Time: 17:30
End Time: 19:30
Result: We lose 7-1
With an age range spanning from 18 to 48, with the two “senior players” (Jaime and I) a bit out of practice and with a goalkeeper with a gimpy leg, is it any wonder that we lost?
Jaime and I strolled up to the high school in Inokuchi (Hiroshima) wondering if a good turn out of the Hiroshima University Medical School contingent of our team would allow us to take a more relaxed attitude to the game. Sadly, only ten of them had turned up, and one had a limp and volunte ered to go in goal.
When we arrived, Jaime was immediately asked to play a whole game and I was the sub for the first half.
The other team was also in blue so out came our orange bibs, but there were only nine of them… The situation was saved by my old orange t-shirt (Uniqlo 2005?) that the “lucky” tenth player reluctantly accepted as I cantered onto pitch in my first attempt at running for quite a while.
The first half was quite an evenly matched game although the other team was definitely better organized than us. They scored two rather soft goals by breaking through the middle of the our defence.
In the second half I came on and was put into central defence, a shockingly responsible position for an old timer.
Jaime warned me about the baseball mound that he tripped over when attacking the goal that I was now to try and defend. At one point, when running back I suddenly found my legs folding under me and then the ground disappearing under them again as I ran into – or rather over – the mound while keeping my eye on the attacker on my right… Such are the joys of playing football on a Japanese high school sports field.
Most of our players were from the new intake and we hadn’t met them before, but they were a friendly and cheerful bunch and didn’t seem at all deflated as we conceded two more goals. In one comedy moment, a long ball went over the heads of the defensive line into the path of one of their speedy attackers and we turned to see an empty goal mouth and the striker tap in the ball…
Er, where was the goalie?
He’d ended up somewhere in front of the defenders and his gimpy leg was getting worse so he couldn’t get back.
We pulled back a goal, but the other team were well aware that our goalie was practically immobile and took full advantage with speculative shots that bounced into the net.
In spite of that, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game and this 48yo was pleased to have lasted the 45 minutes without disgracing myself too much. Chasing down players is still not too much of a problem, but that first half second delay in reacting is where age lets you down.
FT: 71 and the most enjoyable thrashing I have ever received!
I hope we get another opportunity to play for DEH as the new team members are a cheerful, friendly bunch, but it all depends on whether or not DP wants to keep the team going after the closure of the school… I hope he does!