Yes, friends. Motorcycle soccer. Just like it sounds.

It had a pretty simple beginning. A father tells his boys to go round up the soccer balls in the yard, and when you have a few acres and some lightweight 80cc motorcycles; well, you get pretty inventive as a kid. They rounded them up by making a game out of the task. The rest is history.

Word is spreading about this event, and more so because of the gracious hosts that simply ask for a donation for gas and replacement parts, bring a dish to share afterwards, sign a waiver so the hosts are protected, and a verbal drill that explains the game and how you can be ejected if you get too squirrelly and start pulling wheelies or purposely trying to ram someone. Fair game! That’s all it takes.

Teams of 3-4 players wear blue or red shirts, circle in the middle, are reminded to have fun, and we all squeeze the ball in the center with our tires. No flip of the coin here, no. Whoever squeezes the ball out and can kick it first gains possession. But, there aren’t any offsides or cards thrown; but, once a score is made (marked with red or blue tape) the goal-making team has to circle around their goal at the end of the pitch to allow the goal-losing team field advantage.

Passing is done only by foot, an occasional head ball is allowed, but the point is to not put your feet down to scoot the ball along. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but excessive use will be scolded and laughed at. It’s about throttle control. Going slow enough to pass the ball between your wheels, run over the ball, divert the opponent, turn their power switch to the off position and leave them kick starting their bike for the next several minutes. Okay, so it’s jungle rules motorcycle soccer. But it’s fun, it’s plausible, it requires a ton of motorcycle skills, depth and peripheral vision, and a low profile helmet.

The hosts are fine folks and pioneering riders, too. Phil and Peggy are aging, but Phil still gets out there and rides his heart out and manages very well, thank you very much. At the start when we were waiting for more players to arrive, Phil shared his scrap books and pictures freely. He was a mechanical teacher who spent a lot of time in Japan. He has a lot more tales to tell than I can remember, but seeing his enthusiasm is infectious. I went inside to ask Peggy if I could put some meat in the fridge, and we chatted on a while about their trip to Mexico. It wasn’t to be since her bike broke down at the border, but considering that this was in the late 60s and without the right parts, I think I would have towed it home too.

I’ve known about this event for five years and finally got the chance to go. I’m very indebted to the hosts, Victor and Rocky for maintaining the bikes in the Garage-mahal, and for the great people who I played beside.

The grand finale was the old timer’s game, where the originators pulled out their all. Rocky came literally sliding in with a flame helmet and red sparkly shirt. Luckily he only bent his pride and the handlebars a bit, but he was good to go.

Here are some videos and pictures that I took during the games.

Pass safe!