A line of figures in black and gold jerseys makes its way slowly onto a field. On the front of the jerseys: the Engineering logo. It’s not a sight you frequently see – Waterloo engineers out in the sun running around after a ball, flying our school colours – but this weekend at the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO) soccer tournament you could see just that.
Our rag-tag group was assembled of friends and strangers, on-stream and on co-op, skilled players and people who had benched themselves for a few years. We came together in Mississauga ready to play and represent our university and most of all have a great time. Friday night was the first game; we were facing one of the two Windsor teams and we were short of the eleven players we needed. Luckily for us, and unluckily for them, most of the McMaster team couldn’t make it so we absorbed their players to make a full team with one or two subs. That first game we were still getting our soccer legs and feeling out how to work as a team. We lost 10-2. The game ended, and we stumbled back to our hotel for a night in at the pool with pizza to rest up for our three games on Saturday.
Saturday dawned cool and cloudy, perfect for a day of soccer. Our numbers also increased miraculously overnight and with the addition of two Mac’s and one Queen’s student, we were ready to crush the other teams! Our game against Ryerson began at 10:30AM and we started off strong, having learnt some lessons from the night before about where our strengths lie. We swelled our defense up to 5 players, subbed more frequently and cheered a lot. By the end of the game we had lost by less of a margin than the day before and we were feeling pretty swell about our teamwork.
The next two games were back-to-back but didn’t start until 1:30 so we hung out watching Ryerson play against Windsor’s B team and playing frisbee. By 1:30 we had accumulated even more Waterloo players, enough to sub out half our team at a time. We were playing our second game against Windsor and while they were tired from playing a game before, we were well rested (and maybe overly-fed). Somehow, we pulled a “second half victory” as someone on the team termed it. Losing 5-4 but scoring 3 points in the second half to only one goal from the other team!
It was with high-flying confidence that we prepared for our last game of the day, again facing Ryerson. At the same time, Conestoga was going to play Windsor’s A team, but with only 6 players it looked like they would have to forfeit. To help out, Mac Eng left our team for theirs and we gave up one of our players for net and they managed to play without too serious of a loss. Unfortunately, this meant your intrepid Waterloo-ians were down subs.
To make matters more severe Waterloo was lagging a bit by this time in the day; the sun was out in full by now, it was our third game of the day and our second in a row. Muscles we hadn’t used for months sitting in offices on co-op were starting to cramp. But we played on, persevering as we Waterloo students are known to do against great odds (2B). Ryerson’s offense was strong, at times it felt as though their entire team was on our defensive line, but we kept up pressure as the bruises and sunburns we woke up with Sunday morning will surely tell you. We didn’t win that last game either, but we damn well put up a good fight.
Both of Windsor’s teams chose not to stay in Mississauga for the Sunday games, so Waterloo went home, choosing to end the tournament on our own turf against Conestoga. Unfortunately, not enough players could be called up on the Conestoga team, and those on the Waterloo team were seriously feeling the burn from the day before and reluctant to play again. So our last game is postponed for now, but if you’re around when we play again, come out to cheer us on or join the team more are always welcome!
If there’s one thing I learnt about this school of ours at the tournament, it’s that despite what they say about us we are an athletic bunch who’s just out to have a good time! Oh, also that Waterloo definitely has more girls than any other engineering school. Way to go Waterloo, you have officially earned more of my respect.