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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can we reclaim our soccer pitch without looking like jerks?

(Image: Buffa)

(Image: Buffa)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I play a casual game of pickup soccer with a bunch of other late-30s dads on weekends at Bickford Park. For the last few weeks, a crew of beer gut–less university students has asked to get in on the game. It’s a public space, so we felt compelled to say yes, but we quickly realized they’re showboaters. They hog the ball, aggressively slide-check and perform obnoxious goal celebrations. We don’t want to play with them anymore, but they keep showing up. How can we reclaim our pitch without looking like jerks or, worse, middle-aged wusses?
Kicked Around, KOREATOWN

If you want to get the ball back, you’ll need to grow a pair. Explain to the grandstanders that they’re too skilled for your kick-around and that you’d prefer to play on your own. Sure, you’ll have to admit that you can’t bend it like Beckham, but they already know that. In exchange, you’ll keep your turf and feel chuffed that you took charge of the situation. Let’s face it: at your age, you have to start measuring victories in conflicts resolved, not goals scored.

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