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Memory fighting with Reality = Surrealism

I've been involved with soccer for a long time, and my dad's also keenly interested in the sport. I played for a number of years and, for a while, there was an outdoor soccer team in the area. Semi-pro, I guess. The name was the Maryland Bays. We didn't go to see them play very much, because they were "a long way away." I do remember attending the games, and wandering off during the game to blow off some energy on a nearby playground. I remember the scoreboard flashing in the darkness at one end of the field, one of the few things you could see outside of the wash of light that blanketed the field. I remember thinking how far south we went. How convoluted the roads were around there, since it wasn't just off the highway. And the funky street names. The Bays were a good team, even won a national championship in their league at least one year. I remember the flyers passed around, advertising other games. I remember the programs, the hot dogs ... but the team and the league faded during my high school years, as this was before the World Cup in 1994, and well before the MLS.

When you're 10, distances appear a lot longer. I'll be camping this weekend, but I will also be refereeing some soccer games at the Columbia Invitational Soccer Tournament on Saturday afternoon/evening. Under-17 boys games at Cedar Lane Park, field #6.

Never having been there before, I decided to scope it out at lunch today so I'd know where I was going and what I was looking for on Saturday. I parked in the lot, got out of my car, and the familiarity was striking. The distinctive shape of the playground, though, really brought it back. I stared, then ran over a hill and down past some trees to the field. Same hill, repaved walkway. There are two fields there, #5 and #6. I think they played on #5, but they're literally side-by-side.

It was a weird feeling, reconciling those memories with the fact that I'll be refereeing a high profile game there on Saturday night. High profile in my opinion, at least. College scouts are known to visit this tournament. Heck, I don't think this was saved for me personally (my ego's not that big) but I'm definitely going to be in a bit of awe that night.

If anybody wants to cheer, and help make sure I get to my car after the match (hehehe), it's an 8:15 pm start. I'll be running lines for 2 games that afternoon, but get a break during the 6:30 match.

- Pookah

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