Soccer as Succor
Last night I had a great adventure. Tulasi plays in an adult summer soccer league, the same one I had played in for 8 years until 2004. So I know a lot of the guys who play in it. I never became close friends with them because I never got into the post game male bonding ritual of drinking; still, just knowing someone for a long time does build a relationship.
Simply being out on the sidelines, in the fresh air and sun, and seeing live soccer was such a treat for me. While I confess to having an interest in the World Cup, and use watching games as a tool to distract myself from the discomforts of my current situation, normally I don’t watch games or follow any particular team. For me, it has been more the experience I had of coaching kids for 10 years and using it as a way to interact with my own kids and perhaps be a bit of a positive role model for other local kids. That, and the actual playing of the game myself, which was a way to stay in shape and find some joy in a way not dependent on consumerism or over stimulating my senses. Something my body could amuse itself with.
The car trip to the field was the most difficult part. Our West Virginia roads twist and turn and bump now and then, and each minor shift was amplified by my still mending wounds. Once there, we got lucky and got a parking spot right next to the entry. I walked about 40 meters and Clint brought along a field chair that I sat in on about 25 meters up the sideline. Making it to midfield would have been a bit much as I was pushing to get where I did. Plus, most of the players booted up there and that is where the spectators were sitting. I am supposed to avoid crowds because even a minor flu of cold infection could be serious for me at this critical healing and liver reboot time.
Mostly I had little bits of conversations with people as they walked by. Some already knew I had had the transplant because they knew Tulasi was my son and had asked him before why I wasn’t playing this year. When others asked if I were playing, I would say I can’t, I just had a liver transplant. When they would ask when, I would say 13 days ago and the mild shock reaction they would show at someone being out so soon amused me.
Incidentally, I realized I have never mentioned that the liver regenerates itself. This is unique amongst all organs. So my son, left with 35% of his liver, will have a completely functional full sized one in a matter of weeks. The part I got will also grow out to full size. Of course, it takes a tremendous amount of energy for the body to do this, and the side effect is fatigue, but poison in the beginning, nectar in the end.
By the way, our team did win easily, 7-2. Thakur, the son of Jayaprahbupada, who had moved here from Brazil last year, scored once and had 2 assists. He rides in with us. All the teammates chant “Thakur” and “Tulasi” as part of the normal flow of communication in a game. I would think that has some benefit.