Above is a picture of some of my friends playing soccer outside my house in Liverpool back in 2011. At the time of this picture, I would have been 11 years old but even then I was playing some form of unorganized pick-up. My pick-up story started just like this, me and my friends out in the street playing soccer. We would set up goal posts with our jumpers and divide teams based upon our shirt colors. It was simple, a ball and some players. We would quite literally pick-up kids from around the neighborhood so we could have larger teams. It was pick-up in its simplest form.
We don’t really think about it but most of us played this simple form of pick-up as children. Playing baseball, football, soccer, or even hockey with the local neighborhood kids is an early form of pick-up. Much of my own childhood was spent this way without even knowing it. It began by playing with my friends on the street, sometimes kicking water bottles between lampposts. As we gained our independence we began to move to actual soccer fields. We would take our bikes to the local playing field and play pick-up with people from school. We would spend our summer afternoons kicking a soccer ball around on the local farmer’s field occasionally getting kicked off. Eventually, we got old enough to rent out turf fields and play pick-up with the people there.
Throughout my entire life, I have been playing pick-up without really realizing it. Having written this blog I have been looking back and reflecting on the good times I have had playing. So many of the great relationships and memories I have had in my life have come playing pick-up. So if you still aren’t convinced that pick-up is for you, just think, the next time you go and play that new teammate could be your new best friends and that sunset game could be your new favorite memory. It has been an honor writing for you and I hope to one day see you out there playing pick-up sports in NYC.