I was meandering through the city with a friend and a soccer ball. We were determined to go out and relive our glory days through some passing when the urge for a true soccer field overcame our complacency with the section of grass we found. After trekking around only to find we were locked out of the two soccer fields we stumbled upon, we found ourselves back at this open quad area again at the same section of grass.
This quad area happened to be a part of the University of San Francisco’s campus. With a beautiful church just to the right of us and a student center ahead of us, I felt like I was trapped in between my much former christian self and my recently former student self. Upon returning to this spot, my companion for the day was both exhausted and frustrated that we left only to return. The result of this was me trying to make up fun games we could do to spark her interest again in playing.
It didn’t work. She lay down face first on the grass for a solid 10 minutes while I punted the ball in the air repeatedly. Finally, an idea came to me just as she decided she was willing to get up and give soccer a go again. The result was a game two sections of grass divided by a roughly 5 ft cement pathway. I took my shoes off and made a center line where we both would stand to start. At first, it was just supposed to be a juggling and passing game. Thanks to being two creative people, it didn’t end there. We realized we both were pretty rusty in terms of juggling yet still friendship-ending-ly competitive so the following rules were added:
- The game is played on the center line made by my shoes
- Each player serves from the center line by performing a thrown in that must bounce once on the center 5ft cement block before going directly to the other person. This must be thought of as a teammate to teammate throw in aka no spin and it must be in the direction of the person.
- You must receive the ball with any part of our body other than your hands.
- You must juggle the ball at least twice before playing the ball back with your hands.
- You must play the ball WITH your hands but it must be played back towards the person/center line
- The ball must bounce and can only bounce once on the cement block when playing the ball to the other person.
- If the ball bounces oddly or rolls to the other person’s side, they have one chance to bring the ball up with their feet and continue juggling.
- 10 juggles = 1 point
- If someone slams the ball unfairly (bounces too high, too far away, etc.), the receiver can say so and ask for a redo.
- All in all, this should be seen as a game to sharpen individual skills while trying to set the other person up for success. No cheap shots.
While this game sounds absurd, it was actually absurdly engaging. We then stopped and talked after a bit in the sun of SF about college, jobs, new cities, and what we look for in others. All in all, it was a day free of schedules, pings, emails, instagram posts, facebook feeds, etc and a day full of free flowing fun.