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Off the Wall

             Walking on to artificial turf in an arena that looks uncannily like it was meant to have 250-pound ice skaters with five foot sticks chasing a black disc around was somewhat different compared to walking onto a high school soccer field. My first indoor soccer game was at five o"clock on a Tuesday evening after school. The anticipation building up to this occasion was worse than waiting to open your presents on Christmas morning; and it was finally time to play. The first thing that I noticed as I strutted onto the field was the size of the goals and how they were built. I had been told by a friend that had played indoor soccer the year before that they were eight-feet by eight-feet, but looking at them from forty yards away made them seem like aiming for a shoebox. The fact that the goals were made flush with the walls seemed like it would make the game more interesting. I glanced a couple of times across the field at the opposing team as I walked into the bench-area and they didn't look much different from us, just a little older. The entrance to the field from the bench area was just like that of a hockey rink in that it was a low-wall with a small door leading onto the field.
             The fact that we didn't really have a coach, but just one of the player's parents in the bench-area made it seem more like we had control of the game in that we could decide for ourselves who started on the field and when we went in for another player. The game would be played in two twenty-two-and-a-half minute halves. Five players plus a goalie from each team are allowed on the field at one time with seamless play. The substitutions are made just as they are seen in a hockey game. The players "swap-out" as their name is called and a fresh player is exchanged onto the field for a somewhat, refreshable, exhausted teammate. There was one referee on the field as we lined up to start the game. The team that was scheduled as the visiting team got the first possession.

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