Monday, March 18, 2013

Then and Now 61 - Soccer Tour

Then and Now 61 - Soccer Tour
Time: Mid-2007, single and at my apartment.

After I had settled into my apartment, I spent the first night making a big circle to the northeast, then looping back to the west through some dark streets where I met the old man and the dogs, all so I could get to know my neighborhood a little better. This night, I headed southwest and looped to the east to see another side of my new town. My school was in this direction, so I made sure to take another route that I hadn't traveled on my way to work.

It was dark, and the city was settling down. I headed along the long and wide canal that split the residential part of town from the commercial area, and looked in here and there to see how bone dry it was; there hadn't been any rain for a while. Heading past some local businesses and a little steakhouse, I went through an alley between rows of houses towards the bustling center of town. There was a tall clock standing watch over a little park and gazebo, which were on a street island between several twisting roads. There were still quite a few vehicles heading up and down the streets, definitive proof of the many night owls that occupied my new growing city.

To my left was a farmer's market with a huge, glowing neon sign above stating its name, and there were still people moving about picking up veggies, fruit and fish for dinner. I was still dieting, so I just snapped a picture or two and kept moving. As I continued down the road from the city center and time grew later, there were fewer and fewer people around, until it was a surprise to see a car's headlights pass me by. I kept on until it was a bit past midnight, then I cut east to begin my walk back.

It wasn't long before I came across my first mega parks, the first easily three or four city blocks wide. There was nobody there, and it was serenely peaceful. The swings on the swingset moved slightly back and forth in the quiet breeze, the leaves of the trees rustled, and sparsely spaced lights threw long shadows over the grass, sandpits and little cement path that went around the beautiful city block. I spent half an hour just walking about the restful area with a slight smile of contentment on my face.

Heading down another road and past a bunch of cell phone stores, I came to another park. This one was a little smaller at only a block or two, but it had an outdoor concert stadium for sports, orchestras and other kinds of entertainment in one of the corners. Giant floodlights shone down on outdoor bleachers and on a large grassy field behind them, and an older woman was sitting up on the seats, looking down on something going on in the field.

I went around the bleachers and saw a group of foreigners playing soccer with each other. A couple of the locals walking about casted glances their way, but none of them dared to play with the foreigners (probably because of the late hour). I smiled, thinking back on the volleyball tournament that Ken, Harry, Vicki, Yuri, Elle and I played with the locals back in Then and Now 5. I have to admit, I felt a bit smug comparing that day to the lazy game my foreign compatriots were enjoying.

I wanted to do something similar while I was in my new town, and I thought about what I could do with the locals on this field. I decided that someday, I was going to play Super Soccer with anybody who wanted to, which was basically soccer, but played with a ball about ten feet tall. I played it back in school for a week or two, and it was so fun, I wanted to share it with my new neighbors. I wondered briefly how the locals would react to that ball, which was just as insanely hard to get moving as it was to stop it when it was on its way. I always barreled into it no matter the speed, but would the locals be so brave?

After watching the foreigners kick the ball around for a while, I headed back to the north until I found the canal, then followed it back to my apartment to get some rest. Another day of work was coming in just a few hours, and a weekend of fun was just beyond that.

As for today...

I woke up at 6:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I played cars with my son.
I roughhoused with him.
I played video games with him.
I ate lunch.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I did the dishes.
I did a puzzle with my son.
I watched internet movies with him.
I went to work by train, and played video games on the way.
I taught students.
I came home by train, and played video games on the way.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I played video games with my son.
I slept.

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