In celebration of my first "big game" of footy we had dinner at South, an "Australian Foot + Wine Bar" near AT&T Park. The food was very tasty, and the dukka encrusting my chicken, along with the pavlova I had for dessert, were both very Australian (according to the footy folks the next day).
Saturday we were up at a reasonable hour, eventually got breakfast at a small cafe near the hotel, then made our way via BART and bus to Gellert Park in Daly City for footy. C and E stopped off at the mall while A and I went to the field. I got there rather early which gave me plenty of warming up time. People, many with Australian accents, started showing up and all of a sudden we were getting ready for a game of footy!
It was chilly with a strong wind for most of the first game, Oakland versus San Jose. We had seven guys from the Sacramento club down to play, which was a healthy part of the Oakland team. The San Jose team was a little low on players, so we took turns playing with them for a quarter.
I played the first quarter with San Jose, which was just enough time for me to realize two things: the field was really *really* big (one play, I thought the ball was certainly out and there was still 20 yards to the sideline), and I could be tackled (we've been playing rec "touch" footy). There's nothing like seeing three big guys aiming to get you to bring on the panic moments and an accidental throw of the footy.
Second quarter I switched over to my team Oakland and was put into the middle to guard the biggest player on the other team, nicknamed "Belly". My job was simple: try to keep him from getting the ball. I was successful for the most part, of course they didn't really try to pass it to him either which helped a lot. I also didn't get to "ruck" against him (think basketball tip-off), which was probably for the best even if it would have been fun to try.
The second half I played "full forward" which meant I was one of the people closest to the goal. This alternated between periods of quiet contemplation, when the ball was on the other side of the field and I chatted with the guy guarding me ("Flash"), mixed with moments of full-speed panicked playing (mental thoughtstream: "here comes the ball! catch the ball! ball! ball! get the ball! Run! Run! Run! Run! Avoid! Get it to someone! Kick it in the goal! Don't get creamed!")
I ended up with a few marks (including a sliding sideline catch that *should* have been a mark but alas the ref mis-judged it), and two near goals. One was blocked by someone I didn't see until it was too late, the other was a "three people pulling at me, I get one hand free and kick the ball, missing the inner posts by just two feet" shot good for one point.
I managed to "tackle" Belly when he had the ball, if by "tackle" you mean "grab him around the waist/arms and hold on while he drags me around the field". I also "bounced" the ball (think basketball dribble) once, if by "bounce" you mean "try to bounce it and then chase the ball over the field when it flies away from me." The penalty for the bounce attempt was 10 pushups at three-quarters time.
Once the game was over, Oakland had a good solid victory and everyone had a lot of fun. The Sacramento gang all contributed towards the victory and made a solid impression.
The "damaged body parts" summary:
- big scrape on my left shin
- small scrapes on both shoulders, left forearm, both elbows, right knee
- sore hamstrings, which were already sore before especially the left one.
- slightly sore Achilles tendons. These were also sore before, but it's the biggest worry as I ruptured my left Achilles six years ago so I'm trying to be cautious with the right one.
Ibuprofen will be my good friend these next few days.
Overall, it was a real blast to play full field and I'm totally hooked and now figuring out if I can make next week's game. If you're in the SF Bay Area and want to see some footy, come by Ygnacio Valley Park in Concord (corner of Cnr David St and Oak Grove) this Saturday June 27 (games at 1:30 and 3:30, Oakland plays at 3:30).
Post-footy a couple folks gave us a ride back to the hotel, which was very nice of them. This allowed us to rest up before dinner, which was very very nice (lying in bed, legs up on pillows, felt *really* good). Dinner was at an Indian restaurant across the street from the hotel. The food was solid, but the chicken tikka masala was excellent and made everything better.
After dinner, C and I went to ACT to see "At Home at the Zoo" by Edward Albee. Overall we liked the production but thought there were some problems with the first act both in terms of play and in terms of the connection (or lack thereof) between the actors.
Dessert was at Colibri, a nice Mexican restaurant across the street from the theatre, where we had drinks and some tasty fancy churros and a nice mixed-mousse dish.
Sunday we got up early, packed everything, checked out, grabbed breakfast at the hotel Starbucks, then headed out to Pier 33 to go to Alcatraz. I've lived in or near the SF Bay Area for 26 years and I've never been to Alcatraz. Shame on me. Alcatraz was very neat, especially the guided audio tour which used first-person accounts to really put me into the life of the criminals and guards on the island. Also, it was a crystal-clear day in San Francisco and the views were spectacular!
After Alcatraz we strolled down the Embarcadero to Pier 45 and the Fisherman's Wharf area, where we had a late lunch then went to Musee Mechanique. The Mechanique was much fun, with many many old-style coin-op "arcade" machines I remembered from my youth, especially the ones that were pre-digital (old style pinball, arm wrestling machines, hockey games, etc). There are also machines that go back to the early 1900s (way before my time). The kids liked checking out all the old machines.
Finally, it was a bus ride back to the hotel where we collected our bags, trudged off to BART to El Cerrito, and then drove home. We stopped at a roadside fruit stand outside Davis that we've long seen but never tried and came back with much delicious produce. At home everyone took showers, ate fruit, and relaxed. I ended up falling asleep on the couch about 9:30 while doing a crossword puzzle.
It was an excellent Fathers Day weekend and I had a great time! Thanks to C, E, and A for such a great weekend present!