This past weekend was our annual Alumni Weekend for the Maryland Women’s Soccer Program. It’s always the best part of the spring because the training sessions die down as finals approach, and we conclude with a friendly scrimmage against the alumni of the program. Typically, we usually kill our alumni, because most of them are tired old women, whom have long since hung their boots up, and started families of their own. However, this year they were out to get us.
Many of the alum were still in their early twenties. Most of them were former teammates from my freshman and sophomore year, and some of them were on the team this past fall season. Of course none of them were in really great shape, but their age wasn’t the kicker. The kicker was that they paid off the referees! Not literally of course, although I’m not even to sure about that, but definitely figuratively speaking.
In 70 minutes of soccer (we obviously shortened the halfs so the old women didn’t pass out in the 70 degree sun blazing down at 3pm on Saturday afternoon) the officials didn’t give us one throw in, or corner kick. Every time the ball went out of bounds it was the alums’ possession. Everytime we played a through ball, or found ourselves on the brink of a breakaway, we were called offsides. And everytime we layed a finger or shoelace on an alum, it was a foul.
Even after all of the officials’ ridiculous calls we managed to hold onto a puny 2-0 lead as we headed into the final 15 minutes of play. For most of the game our frustration was dismissed by laughter. That was until an alum shanked a shot wide and fell on the ground in the 18 yard box, and the official called a penalty kick (pk). The call was so ridiculous our keeper Yewande could do nothing but laugh. A perfect pk lead to the alums’ first tally on the scoreboard. Now the board read 2-1. A few stray chances on our part, and more bizzare calls occurred as the clock wound down toward zero. Then, in the last 5 minutes of the game, our possession began to greatly deplete. I knew it was odd for the alum to suddenly gain control of the game so I looked around in bewilderment. I noticed we looked out numbered everywhere on the field. Then I checked the opposing bench. That’s when it all hit me. The alum literally cleared the bench! When I say cleared the bench I don’t mean the slang terminology for inserting all their substitutes in replace of their starters for the finally minutes. I mean they cliterally cleared their bench, and all 19 alum were playing against the 11 of us. Confused and stunned, we tried to just keep the ball for the final minute of the game, but a turnover at midfield lead to a huge counter attack! In the final 15 seconds the alum ran down and scored, tieing the game with only 6 seconds left on the clock. At the sound of the final buzzer our jaws dropped, and all we could do was shake our heads and grin. The alumni, thanks in large part to the referees, had literally cheated their way to a tie. Unbelievable!
After the shock of the tie blew over, we all shared a barbecue dinner and drinks (nonalcoholic for those still on the team) at R.J Bentleys. We shared stories, caught up on old times, and remembered the best moments the alumni had in their Terp days. Despite the unruly tie, it was a fun-filled, and very interesting afternoon that ended with great laughs.
When night time fell, it was time to welcome the freshman into their lifetime legacy of a Terp-hood. Needless to say alumni night is always a great entertaining time.
This weekend was a great end to my final spring season as a Terp, and my only hope is that we get the same officials when I’m on the other side of the alumni game next spring!