Sunday, April 10, 2016

Not QUITE past it

While the team is doing great, my season has been a little more down than up. This year is the first time I've felt too old at times in practice and I've been running out of breath and energy much faster than I think I should. I suspect, however, that it is mostly the unusually cold weather we've been having combined with a lack of pre-season stretching and being overweight.

The most recent practice went very well at times. I scored three of my sides seven goals and actually managed to beat a good midfielder off the dribble without using either my speed or strength for the first time in about six years. He was so badly faked-out that he actually spun halfway around and fell down, which inspired no little mocking. I was running out of energy too fast, but I was optimistic that I'd play well in the upcoming game, especially when it became clear that instead of starting up front, I'd play the second half on the wing.

We were up 4-1 when I came in, so the captain told me to hang back and help out our right defender, who normally plays midfield. We were under heavy pressure on that side from two of the other team's three best players, but despite being overmatched, we managed to keep them from any dangerous chances, although it was repeatedly a close-run thing. Generally, they'd tika-taka past me as if I wasn't even there, then the defender would slow them down enough for me to get back and help close out the attacker before he could shoot, and they'd either lose the ball to us, put it out for a goal kick, or be forced to pass it back to the middle or the far side. Somehow, we managed to avoid giving up a single corner; I'm not entirely sure how considering how under pressure we felt.

I managed to beat the defender on the right once, but then sent over a horrendous cross that hooked; fortunately it went to our center-mid and we somehow ended up with a corner out of it. The center-mid then promptly headed in the corner, which we thought would suffice to finish off the game. 5-1.

The problem was that our staunch and speedy right defender got hurt on a slide tackle and his substitute, though game, is the only player on the team older than I am. He's even less technical than I am, so we were pretty seriously overmatched, and the attacker who'd been pressuring us all game blew right by him about 10 seconds after he came in and scored. I couldn't help, because I'd been forward for our corner kick at the time. 5-2.

That encouraged them to attack hard on the left side, and I got completely beaten, didn't get back in time, and the attacker sent over a nice ground cross that was promptly buried in the net. That made it 5-3 and they were starting to think they might be able to make a game of it. They also knew that our right side was our weakest link. So, at that point, I quit even trying to go forward and didn't try to cover their wing much either, I just doubled their attacker every time I didn't have to break off him to attack the guy with the ball.

That frustrated some of my teammates, who didn't realize that our defender simply couldn't stop the guy by himself and that it was more important to shut the guy down than worry about their defender or wing advancing the ball, but the double-teaming sufficed to keep them out of the net for the rest of the game. Fortunately, the captain understood what I was doing, and confirmed afterwards that it had been the right tactic to take in that particular situation.

It wasn't a very good game for me, but the team played pretty well as a whole. I've got to lose more weight - I've already dropped seven pounds, but I think I'm going to see if I can lose another 13 to get completely lean and see if that improves my speed and overall performance. I'm also back on the stretching machine and have added 10 degrees to my range, but I'd like to add another 20.

Aging is hard for every athlete, but despite the challenges, I feel very fortunate after running into one of my teammates the other day and being told that he'd just learned, after an MRI, that he was done for good. He was a really good player, a wing with an ability to sneak forward undetected and a powerful cannon of a shot. He'd been out all season already, but I really hated to hear that. I don't know how much playing time I have left to me, but I'll do what I can to stay on the field as long as I still have something to contribute.



Anonymous Peyton Manning April 10, 2016 8:12 AM  

Been there, done that

Blogger Gordon April 10, 2016 8:13 AM  

Aging sucks. I used to enjoy landscaping work, which consists largely of hauling various heavy things from one place to another. I got away from it for about three years, and when I tried to do it, I discovered that I couldn't, any more. It wasn't that I was out of shape--I was, but that's curable--but I just physically couldn't move the 80-pound retaining wall blocks the way I had before.

I talked about it to the Mexican guy working with me. He's well-respected for his relentless stamina. He admitted that he was slowing down also, and that he tried to structure his day so that he had some time where he wasn't doing heavy lifting.

Blogger Subversive Saint April 10, 2016 8:16 AM  

Aging is hard for non athletes too. It's good that the mind doesn't seem to slow down.

Blogger Phillip George April 10, 2016 8:26 AM  

Have you considered EPO or Mildronate? HGH?

Seriously 300 mg of CoQ10 in divided daily doses and 5000IU of Cholecalciferol at a bare minimum.

Level playing fields are for .......

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother April 10, 2016 8:31 AM  

Soccer is the greatest game ever invented. I dream about it every night.

Anonymous yerpistan April 10, 2016 9:07 AM  

Gordon, Look up starting strength if you want to get yours back. Otherwise keep being one of those guys complaining on the internet.

Blogger robwbright April 10, 2016 9:29 AM  

I feel ya. I'm almost 44 and have lost approx 10% of the speed I had in my 20s. The problem is that I don't feel all that different and sometimes forget that 6th gear isn't there anymore. Which results in... "How did that 20 something guy beat me to that 50/50 ball?? Oh... right."

Blogger exfarmkid April 10, 2016 10:04 AM  

Sorry, man, but....welcome to middle-age.

Anonymous antipater_1 April 10, 2016 10:25 AM  

#8 - Sorry, man, but....welcome to middle-age.
And then it gets worse.....

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr April 10, 2016 10:26 AM  

Might be time to take up shooting on a serious basis. It's a lot less age dependent.

Blogger Eric Guillaume Dilasser-McDowell April 10, 2016 10:37 AM  

Next time you face a team that plays tiki-taka to get past the fullbacks and defensive mid, try marking the space the player off the ball wants to run into and not the man himself, if he's younger and faster man-marking will almost never work but narrow zonal marking of the dangerous areas you know he wants to get into makes it a lot harder for the other team to sustain their pressure in attack, gives time for the wingers to come and help out. The perfect examples of that would be what Atletico Madrid did to Barcelona in the first half of their game last week, or what the Dutch did to the Spics at the last World Cup when they won 5-1.

Blogger Anonymous-9 April 10, 2016 12:00 PM  

I have been using The Ultimate Meal nutritional powder for years and the very first day I gave some to my long-distance motorcycling BF, he reported increased stamina on a 600-mile ride. I can do a lot more work when I take it, and cravings for junk are diminished. It comes in two sizes, so check out the big moneysaver tub too.

Anonymous redsash April 10, 2016 12:11 PM  

VD, Try fasting one day a week, preferably when the wife is NOT cooking any specialities. You zero your calories w/o your metabolism slowing.

I'll be 67 in September. SIXTY-SEVEN. Save some of yourself for your grand children. Your happiest days lie ahead.

Blogger RobertT April 10, 2016 1:17 PM  

If it makes you feel any better, I'm in my 60's and have better range of motion now than I've every had. I think it may be that I've dropped some muscle as I'm doing only body weight stuff, so the muscles in my legs especially aren't there to interfere any longer. Another thing i've noticed, my reaction is still pretty quick. Not like it used to be, but better than some. Never-the-less time & gravity overtake us all.

Blogger Sheila4g April 10, 2016 1:31 PM  

Yes, aging is hard (even though I'm 57, female, and have never played team sports. I'm lifting well and working hard to increase my upper body strength, but I can't chess press more than 75-80 lbs. on my last set (that's including the Smith machine bar). I can handle 210 on the leg press machine (plus whatever the sled itself weighs), but have to go quite light on squats - my knees just can't take it anymore - and lunges are absolutely out of the question. As for losing weight, despite trying my damnedest, it gets harder every decade. The solution, of course, is not gaining it in the first place, but hindsight etc. I'm down significantly from my fattest, but still up significantly from where I ought to be.

It's all extremely frustrating, but I do not ever want to be bed-ridden or immobile or dependent on someone else physically. Kudos to those who live full lives in wheelchairs and so forth, but I'd literally go nuts.

Blogger Kim Priestap April 10, 2016 2:28 PM  

If you lose weight, your speed should increase simply because you won't be lugging the extra weight around with you as you run. I'm a distance runner and, as I've lost weight, my speed has increased. I've got about 5 more pounds to go to reach my goal weight that I'm hoping will help me reach my goal speed. I've got a marathon coming up in October and want to finish under a particular time. I'm hoping that ridding myself of these extra five pounds will help me get there. And one thing I can tell you as an aging athlete: listen to your body. This goes for athletes of all ages, but particularly those of us who are in our late forties and beyond. It can take us a bit longer to recover from injury.

Anonymous cheddarman April 10, 2016 2:30 PM  

May you age gracefully, my liege lord.

Anonymous Raggededge April 10, 2016 3:18 PM  

Soccer is a young man's sport, that you are at all competitive at your age is a testament to your life long fitness focus.

Anonymous Raggededge April 10, 2016 3:20 PM  

I always laugh at those who call soccer gay, they have no idea what it takes physically to play the game.

Blogger Unknown April 10, 2016 5:35 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Rick Bocchi April 10, 2016 5:41 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous BGKB April 10, 2016 5:57 PM  

I always laugh at those who call soccer gay, they have no idea what it takes physically to play the game.

From the videos posted before Vox plays a different game than the one people fall over and cry whenever someone gets near them.

years and the very first day I gave some to my long-distance motorcycling BF, he reported increased stamina on a 600-mile ride

Doesn't the motorcycle do most of the work?

Blogger rumpole5 April 10, 2016 8:11 PM  

I also sympathize. I decided to buy a larger 96 lbs. bag of Portland cement the other day, and after picking it up and slinging it over my shoulder, I pondered using a different method in future. I didn't actually hurt myself, but I could feel that the cushioning has definitely dwindled! I guess that I should be grateful to be doing concrete work by hand at age 64, but I sure would like to have that age 25 body again. As the good book says: Lord, teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom.

Blogger Lazarus April 10, 2016 11:21 PM  

I remember Jack Nicklaus once on the 18th at Pebble Beach when he was near The End. He may have been waiting to shoot, or just shot, and the sat on the rail by the sea and just looked at his field of play like he was at peace and in some kind of contemplation. He was done soon after.

Aquiescence, not pneumonia, is in reality The Old Man's Friend

Blogger Lazarus April 10, 2016 11:27 PM  

BGKB wrote:Doesn't the motorcycle do most of the work?

Dude. Hanging on to umpteen horsepower may be sort of a female occupation, but you have to at least bring some Dyke Power to teh job.

Blogger Lazarus April 10, 2016 11:41 PM  

BGKB wrote:From the videos posted before Vox plays a different game than the one people fall over and cry whenever someone gets near them.

To be fair, much of that sort of thing has been manoeuvered out of the game. Quite subtlely, over the years.

It is akin to the campaign against SJWs

Death to the whiners.

Blogger Patrikbc April 12, 2016 6:35 AM  

I love rec ball. Most guys don't have the time for "taking a dive", and just want to play the game.

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