Tiny granules of black rubber seep into second-hand Nike Cleats. Flickering lights give off an aura of a decommissioned haunted house. But as players open the tiny gate and take their first steps onto the field, the excitement of competition sets in. It is not the Rio de Janiero World Cup finals, but for the next 50 minutes, the flurry of goals washes away the locale and the world’s greatest game is played indoors.
A group of junior and senior boys banded together to join the 2017-2018 winter indoor soccer league at the Norcross soccer indoor facility. Wesleyan assistant soccer coach Joe Tamel said, “I think it’s great they are getting exercise and working on foot skills.”
As the team was just beginning to form an identity, a hearty debate about choosing a team name began to erupt. Junior Hampton Henderson preferred “ROYGBIV” “because it really embodies the spirit of creativity and teamwork our team stands for.” Many other team names were thrown around including, “The Hampton Rippers,” “Eggrolls in the Barnyard” and “Puzzles.”
Sage Dining vegetables were thrown and fighting words exchanged, but ultimately, the team settled on the “Purple Cobras” from the movie “Dodgeball”. However, as the much-anticipated schedule was released, the Purple Cobra’s illustrious legacy was immediately destroyed as the schedule showed “Purple Colors” instead. Rather than be disappointed or angry, the impromptu name change united the squad closer than ever before as they wear blue every week in protest of the league.
The team has also benefited from the surrounding Wesleyan community. Class of 2017 alumnus and current Furman University student Carter Gravitt shaved his beard in order to pass as a high school student and play when upcoming science exams slashed the player base. Juniors Quinn Kaloper and Sophie Zetzsche have even signed on as “Team Moms.” When asked about why she signed up, Zetzsche said, “A bunch of my friends are doing it and it seems like a fun activity to get involved with… I provide fruit roll ups, orange slices and cheer people on.” Senior Austin Luke said his “favorite part about playing on the team is the camaraderie that it builds with my teammates. It has created lasting memories and helped me to get in shape and focus on my touch for the upcoming soccer season. It is incredibly exhausting.”
On the pitch, the Purple Colors have faced robust competition. Four out of the six teams in the league are comprised mainly of AAAA soccer powerhouse Marist’s varsity soccer players. Despite this, the Purple Colors are 2-2 and have had a second half lead in each of their games against the various Marist squads, as well as a dominating 24-18 victory over “Kia FC.”
Overall, the team has managed to keep a relaxed environment during games. In a world where wins and losses seem to be the only part of sports that matter, indoor soccer is an escape from cutthroat competition and a chance to improve every player’s skills.