I don't know if it's just an uncharacteristic cold front, but I don't remember the weather being this cold in the Midwest this time of year. So there I was, all bundled up, watching the overcast grey clouds spit snow as I refereed youth soccer games right in the heart of metropolitan St. Louis, MO. At point I definitely asked myself: Am I crazy?
Anyone who knew what I was doing on Saturday could have easily made that argument. Overcast skies, no sunshine, a bitterly chilling wind from the northwest ... maybe South Texas wasn't so bad after all. However I kept myself motivated as parents shouted, criticized and even went so far as to call me an idiot. I promised myself a couple pints of Guiness Irish Lager afterwards at a nearby soccer pub.
As I thawed out at ye ol' New Amsterdam Tavern, the barkeep noticed my referee gear under my jacket. We talked about the beautiful game, our favorite clubs, our stories, etc. He used to work for the U.S. Soccer Federation. I used to work for the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer. He asked if I played and I told him I was looking for a team. He recruited me for his men's side Steinclub right there on the spot.
The downside was that the squad wore the green and white hooped jerseys of Glasgow's mostly Catholic supported Celtic FC. I happen to support Glasgow's traditionally Protestant club Rangers FC because native Fort Wayne-ian Damarcus Beasley plays for the side. So when I took the pitch for Steinclub's Sunday league match, I reluctantly put on the green and white shirt. However, the slightly older and injury stricken squad needed some younger, fresher legs. Again the temperature was in the 40's but at least the sun was shining to provide a morale boost.
I think I am crazy.