January’s winds are merciless, splitting open dry knuckles with blood slivers. 9-to-5ers power-walk the final two blocks to their warm cubicles and electric standing desks.
A few trees down from the office, in-front of Heavy Burger, a strange collection of city trash lies. A toppled lime electric scooter, neck twisted, lays between the road and the side walk. An aluminum silver Baby Ruth candy bar wrapper flaps next to the handlebars. And a nylon purple poncho, a size 8 step away from the wrapper, collects rain in its creases.
A frazzled commuter left it all behind.
We’re playing at a different location today.
After two days of rain the sun is finally showing face. I drive pass the Radha Krishna temple, and the Montessori, hoping I’m not one of the last to arrive (first 22 play). Google maps? That rude bastard. He rides shotgun, but after every sub-division interrupts Andy Brassel’s commentary on Juventus’ historic 2003 semi-final win over Real Madrid.
I arrive on time, but as a group we’re late. Our back-up field is packed with weekend amateurs.
The diligent and disciplined have laid out their cones, set up their goals, and snatched up every free patch of turf.
We sit in the parking lot and argue which field we should play at now. From my car, I see heads nod. Some laughs are exchanged. Our Congress works like Washington’s – slow.
The majority come to an agreement and we drive back to the park we normally play at. The field waits for us, dotted with gulls spearing at worms in the wet soil.
A few of us run through some half-hearted old man stretches. Others chat about their midweek indoor matches. The fights that broke out. The incompetent referees. The games lost.
Alberto and Mo choose teams and we break off.
90 minutes of bliss ahead.
She wore a navy pea coat with a green checkered scarf wrapped around the collar. Her red hair flared from underneath a leather newsboy cap with a silver dollar button in the center. She looked down at her phone the entire ride.