Monday, April 30, 2007

Friends and Teammates

When Natasha, a sweet girl who plays on my hockey team, has been interested in starting to play soccer for some time now. When she learned that I’ve been playing soccer since way back when, she inquired about where and when and why I play.

I invited Natasha to join my coed indoor soccer team but, truthfully, I didn’t think that she would actually do so. We play at crappy times at an arena an hour from her house. But Natasha was really, really keen on playing soccer. She joined our humble squad.

For someone with no experience with the game, she did exceptionally well.

For the caliber of the league, she was weak.

But she had fun and didn’t once complain about being overmatched. I just sort of figured that she knew that she sucked and didn’t really want to talk about it. I wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it either.

And then I get an email about her wanting to play in a summer league. The same summer league that I play in.

“I don’t want to play with beginners! I am such a snob!”

Honey, you ARE a beginner. And you are NOT good enough for that league. Not even close.

And so there I am, stuck looking like an asshole for not asking for her to join my team. She’s not good enough for my team. She’s not good enough for my league. What am I supposed to do?

Tell her that my team doesn’t have room on the roster for any new players.

Lying is bad. But it is so much easier than telling someone that they’re not anywhere near as good as they think they are.

I directed her to the shittiest team in the league. “Ask them for a tryout,” I said.

I hate that team anyway. Make them give her the bad news. Or let her lose 231-0 with them. Just remove me from all involvement, PLEASE!

And this whole Natasha mess got uglier on Friday. The guys on my team decided that they would like to play another session. In hushed voices, they admitted that they weren’t going to ask our goalie back and asked if I thought my sister would play in net for us. Then, they gave me the lowdown on our roster.

Natasha (along with a few less skilled guys) was not included.

“It’s not that we’re mad at her or anything,” one of the guys said. “We just want to be more competitive.”

I totally understand that line of thinking. We were one of the weaker teams in the league. I don’t like to lose.

But I also don’t like hurting my friends’ feelings.

And I don’t really want to lie again.

So I’ll omit.

While feeling really, really guilty.


Unknown said...

Something VERY similar happened with our soccer team. But, I just reasoned with myself that she wasn't MY responsibility, she can figure out her own team for herself!

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