(OCTOBER IX) Football in two forms

The last two evenings have featured football at Lakeside Field, but in much different forms.  The first one was last night, and was in the form of flag football.  Although I love the sport, during my career at Northwestern, I was never able to join a team until this year.  During my first year, I didn’t really know anyone and the people in my class didn’t seem too thrilled about playing.  The second and third year introduced students who were interested, but nobody took the initiative to set up the team.  (Granted, with GSA (Graduate Student Association), I attempted to join their team, but the timing worked out horribly for the scheduling.)

My intramural experiences at Northwestern were basketball during my first two years, soccer in the first year, Ultimate the last two years, softball during the second year, and hockey last year. They have all been enjoyable, but flag football was always one of my favorite sports ever since I learnt it in fifth grade at recess.  Reminds me of keeping my stats on a Laser Quest dry-erase poster on my door back in Lincoln!  I was a pretty good running back at that time. 🙂

But back to last night, we played against Mixxa Mayhem, which was essentially the same team as ~Chai Beta Chai~ that we beat last year in the thrilling hockey playoff opener.  We started with the ball, and after getting two first downs, advancing to their 35 yard line, we took a sack and had a few passes fall incomplete.  They burnt us on a big play in their drive off a run, and our defense then tightened up to guard against the run.  We were down 0-6 at halftime.

In the second half, we picked off a pass, and as an offensive lineman, I provided enough protection for a one-hit wonder, followed by a scramble on the conversion for a 7-6 lead.  We forced a MM punt, but in trying to run out the clock, passed the ball and committed an illegal shift foul.  So, we punted, but our defense contained the run, and on the final play, a deflected pass fell into our hands.  ESAM wins, 7 to 6!  That moves my record on career openers at Northwestern to 2-4.  (The other win was in Ultimate; basketball, hockey, soccer, and softball were all losses).

Then tonight, there was another football game: the ‘Cats against the #10 Fighting Irish!  Obviously, I’m talking not about American football, but Association football, better known as soccer in the States.  :p  In both halves, the wind was against us, but we played aggressive offense to net two goals at the 15:00 and 20:00 marks.  The defense didn’t let any shots past, despite the fact that Notre Dame significantly outshot Northwestern.

The second half featured a rapidly shifting wind, flying leaves, and the ‘Cats having to play a lot of defense.  In the end, Notre Dame took 21 shots, compared to our 9.  But, they shot only about 5%, and we shot 22%, to end up with a hard-fought 2-1 win.  It’s always good to win against a ranked team, but Notre Dame tends to be a big rival to nearby schools, even when they don’t play every year.  They sure get a lot of coverage in the Chicago Tribune, at least!

Oddly enough, this weekend will likely be bereft of football for me.  The ‘Cats play at 11:00 on Saturday, but at that point, I will be at בית־כנסת בית־ישראל באומהה (Beth Israel Synagogue in Omaha) for Sam’s bar mitzvah. And the Huskers are off this week, but I suppose it’s a good thing to get a respite every once in a while.

At the time that I am writing this post, the countdown to Omaha has dwindled to 36 hours.  I can’t wait!

Today is the ninth day of O.C.T.O.B.E.R.  That makes one week and two days.


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