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Red Card Weekend

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Tobin was beyond pissed she let her emotions get the best of her.  Having to be left behind in Portland and not traveling with the team to Seattle was a tough pill to swallow.  She regretted the red card incident and wished she could have waived a magic wand and reversed her actions. 

The constant taunting and bantering of the Spirit players made Tobin’s blood boil.  Allie tried at one point to get Tobin to calm down after Krieger made a snarky comment after she got taken downon the edge of the box.  “That should have been a freakin’ PK,” Tobin yelled at the ref.  Ali just rolled her eyes and told Tobin she needed to keep her comments in check.  Just like the comment she made to Ash. Well that’s all it took for the retaliation to get the best of her.  Krieger was given a free kick and Tobin decided to encroach.  Well, that was not her intention but she came in too close and in hindsight was not the best decision.  Tobin was issued a yellow card and the frustration built.  She threw her hands in the air and walked away mumbling and swearing to herself.   God I wish I had acted differently.  Tobin just tried to forget the shut off her thoughts. She decided to take a walk downtown and clear her head.  She grabbed a coffee at Dutch Bros and continued to walk the downtown.  Some fans came up to her and expressed their frustration and told her they still supported her and not to worry she would be back in another week.  A weekend off seemed like a death sentence to Tobin and not being with the team just added more disappointment to her circumstance. 

As she walked towards her apartment she almost could not believe her eyes.  She stopped and just stared a minute.  There sitting on her steps was her favorite forward.  “Oh my God, Alex what are you doing here?”  Alex stood up with a slight smile.  “Hey buddy, I need some help.” Tobin looked at her strangely.  “Are you ok?” “Well I’m not sure.” “What does that mean?” “I have a friend I’m worried about.”  “What did Kelly do now?” “No silly, I’m worried about you, as she smiled.  This red card thing is so out of character for you.” Tobin looked down and pulled her right hand over her forehead pushing back some wisp’s of hair that had gotten loose.  “When I watched your game, I was shocked that you drew the red card.  I knew you would be here in Portland and figured you might appreciate some company.   Sooooo, I decided to fly out and surprise you knowing you would be on your own.” Tobin did not know what to say.  “We haven’t seen which of each other lately and I missed you Tobin.”  Alex’s thoughtfulness blew Tobin away.  Extending her arms out, Tobin pulled Alex in for a long affectionate hug. “I’ve missed you too Lex.  So how were you able to break away from Orlando?”  Well it just so happens that we do not have a scheduled game with weekend so the timing could not be more perfect.” 

Tobin grabbed Alex’s bag and unlocked the door with her key.  “Would you like something to eat or drink?   “Water sounds great.” Tobin grabbed one from the fridge and handed it to Alex.  “So when do you fly back?”  “I need to be back to practice on Tuesday, so I’m flying out Sunday night at 11:00pm.”  “That’s awesome a three day weekend?” “Yup, I’m kind of happy to be getting a break from the heat and I really missed Portland.  Orlando has been fun and the fans are supportive but I really miss playing with you.”  “Well if you were on the field with me this past weekend, I probably would not have got a red card.  You could always calm me down.”  Alex gave Tobin a reassuring look.  “I’m sorry Tobin.  I wish things had gone different.  I’m going to take a shower and then I want to hear about what got you into this situation.” Tobin shook her head and rolled her eyes. “No avoiding it Heath.”

Tobin cleaned up some of the clothes that were strung around the condo while Alex showered.  She was trying to line up the events in her head.  Alex needed details and she was not going to get out of explaining.   

Alex soon came downstairs with a t-shirt and sweats.  “Feel better?” “Yah, it’s always nice cleaning off the travel,” Alex said.   She grabbed her water and sat on the couch.  “Ok Tobs, time to spill.”  Tobin sat on the opposite end of the sofa from Alex and crossed her legs Indian style leaning slightly forward.  She looked down and fiddled with the hem of her sweats.  “Tobin, before you start, I just need to know if you are personally ok?” Tobin looked up and shrugged her shoulders.  “I screwed up Lex. I feel really bad and I have let down the team.” Alex extended her hand and placed it on Tobin’s forearm.  “What did Parson say after the game?”

“Well he told me he was disappointed in the fact I could not hold it together and that I let my emotions get the best of me.  He said he loves my passion and fire for the game but that I need to maintain my professionalism.  I let him down too.”  Tobin shook her head.  “When we had our team meeting I had to get up in front and apologize to them.  That was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my soccer career.  It ranked pretty close to the feeling I had when I missed the PK in the world cup game.  I felt like crap.” 

Alex listened and could tell how badly her friend was hurting.  “After I apologized to the team Allie got up and told everyone that we need to basically keep our shit together on the field and that we can’t fall into the trap that I got into.  She talked about helping and supporting each other during the game.

Allie told me she wished she had pulled me back to tell me to cool it.  She recognized that Krieger and I were going at it and trash talking each other.  I think she is still pissed about the comment I made to Ash.  I did not appreciate her judging my sex life.  I’m not sure why it matters.  She is usually not like that.  But honestly, it’s not her freakin’ business. I thought she was about live and let live.  She disappointed me.”  Alex agreed.  “Tobin, I’m sure Ash was just joking around.” “It hurt Lex, I did not appreciate it at all and Ali further commenting on the field just pissed me off more.  That coupled with the fact the fans were chanting negative comments to Parsons….it just all went downhill as the game progressed.  The calls were bad and when Ali made another comment before the free kick just infuriated me.  I put it in my head that I was going to block that kick.  Well unfortunately I got a little too close and moved forward a little too much….and I got issued the yellow for encroachment.  I tried to protest, but it was no use.  Ali continued to be a jerk during the game.  At this point I’m not even sure what I’m going to say to her when I get into camp with the national team.  Not to mention we host them in Portland on May 14th.  I’m not sure how I got here and I feel really bad.”

Tobin just frowned and continued to fidget with her sweats.  Alex shifted herself closer to Tobin.  “Hey, let’s go do something.  You need to get out of this place and just let go for a while.  Let me help you do that.  I’m feeling hungry anyway and I know you can always eat.  Come on Heath throw on some sandals and let’s walk down to the water.  I know you will feel better.”

Alex stood up and pulled Tobin off the couch.  She pulled her in for a hug.  Tobin just held her friend for a moment. “Thanks Lex, thanks for making the trip.  I really can use a friend right now.”  “Anytime babe....come on let’s get out of here.” 

If was a nice afternoon and Alex and Tobin finally made it to the water.  The two of them sat on the wall and took in the light breeze and sunshine.   “Hey, you know I don’t think Ash really meant anything bad when she was pulling your leg about you know…your sex life.”  “Lex I really don’t want to go there. I’m happy with my life she of all people should respect that.”  “Ash can be a tease sometimes and…… kinda clueless sometimes…. and she does not always think before she opens her mouth.  I like the girl, but her filter does not always work.”  “Well I did not think that the subject was going to be brought up on the soccer field again by Ali.  I get she is sticking up for her girl but I didn’t need it and now my return game in two weeks is against the Spirit.  That is going to take all my strength if the shit comments get starting again.” 

“I hear what you’re saying Tobin, I have to think that everyone will be past that in two weeks.”  Let’s get something to eat.  I’m hungry.” “Hey that’s my line,” Tobin said with a smirk.  Alex was happy to see a smile appear on her friends face.  “How about Paley’s?  I miss that place too.” “Sure Lex, let’s do it.”

The two arrived at Paley’s and the place was busy.  They decided to eat in the bar.  As they sat down, the bartender asked them what they wanted.  Alex immediately said two shots of raspberry vodka.  Tobin just rolled her eyes.  They took down the first round of shots and Tobin looked at the bartender and held up two fingers signaling to order another round.  This time Alex raised her eyebrow. 

“So Lex, how do you like Orlando really?”  “I like it.  It’s great being with Serv and the team is great.  Honesty, I do really miss Portland.  The weather is much better for soccer and I miss all the coffee shops and bistros.  Orlando has more of the chain types of restaurants.  The heat really is an issue for me.  I sometimes struggle through practice.  I’m happy that we are growing the league, but Portland still seems like home.” “It will take time to adjust. You were in Portland for three years.” “Yah I know, I do really miss playing here and playing with you.  We had such a great time hanging out and walking around town and the waterfront.  I miss it.”  Tobin looked at Alex.  “I miss with you too.”  Alex looked back at Tobin and just nodded.

“So what do you think another round?” Sure, this is the best I felt in days.” They ended up finishing a couple more rounds of shots and they were both feeling it.  They finished their meal and settled their bill and headed back to the condo buzzed.  They flopped on the couch, closer this time and Alex grabbed a pillow while Tobin turned on the television. Tobin sat down and Alex placed the pillow in Tobin’s lap and she placed her head on the pillow.   Tobin smiled as Alex rolled on her back and looked up.  “Everything will work out you know.” “Yah I suppose.” “Do you think you want to watch the match tomorrow?” “I’m not sure.  I may want to see the results and then watch it.  I don’t really want to think about it right now.”  Alex understood and rolled on her side and Tobin looked for something to watch.

Tobin’s phone buzzed.  When she picked it up she saw that is was Lindsey calling.  “Hey Linds.” “Hey Tob’s how are you doing?”  “I’m doing ok.  I actually have a visitor.” “Oh really who’s that.” “Alex flew out for the weekend to check up on me.” “Nice.”  “Tell her we say hi.  Allie and Kling are here. We are hanging out in the hotel room and we are really missing our favorite midi.” “Thanks guys.”  Tobin placed her phone on speaker and the five women caught up for a little while.  Tobin wished them good luck and the three team mates basically told Tobin she had to watch.  They needed to know that she was with them….they said they would hold their index finger in the air for her…..we miss up Tobs see you soon.   Tobin laughed and told them she would watch.  Tobin pushed end and her and Alex laughed at the antics of her national team friends.  “Ok then it’s settled we will be watching the match tomorrow.” Alex smiled, she knew that would be the best thing for Tobin.

Tobin and Alex were starting to nod off and decided to get ready for bed.  “Lex you can have my bed, I will sleep on the couch.” “Ah…. no way Heath, you’re sleeping with me.  Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I can’t still sleep with my best friend.”  “Tobin laughed….works for me.” 

Tobin had finished brushing her teeth and she settled into bed first.  Alex finished and then walked over to the nightstand and shut off the light.  She slid into bed and like she had hundreds of times before placed her head on Tobin’s shoulder and slid her hand around Tobin’s middle.  “Good night Tobs.”  “Good night Lex.” Tobin smiled and lightly kissed the top of Alex’s head and they both feel asleep comfortable in their friendship.

The next morning Tobin got up first and started breakfast.  She knew that Alex would sleep longer due to the time change she was still adjusting to.  Tobin was thinking about the Seattle game and she texted Lindsey wishing her good luck on the game.  Tobin took her cup of coffee out onto the deck and read the newspaper.  There was an article in the Oregon paper about the game today against Seattle and there was a few comments about her not able to play and what impact that may have on the results of the match.  Tobin was praying that the Thorns would at least pull a draw.  That would help her to move forward with her situation. 

She heard the slider open.  “Morning Lex. How did you sleep?” “Like a rock.” “Awesome, are you ready for breakfast?”  “In a few minutes, I want to wake up a little with my coffee.” Alex bent down and placed a soft kiss on Tobin’s head before she sat down across from her.    “What do you want to do today?” “I was actually thinking about going to the Japanese Gardens.  I wanted to take in the awesome view of Mount Hood while I’m visiting.  I have not been to the gardens for a couple years.  It would be fun and a good reflective type of place to go to. What do you think?” “That sounds perfect,” Tobin replied. 

They had breakfast and got ready to head out for the gardens.  Tobin pulled her Jeep out of the garage and removed the top with Alex’s help.  Driving the Jeep open to the air was always a fun and enjoyable thing to do.  The weather was perfect.  When they arrived at the gardens, it was not too busy.  They were actually able to walk around unbothered by other visitors.  Alex got her picture of Mount Hood and enjoyed the quite surroundings.  Tobin sat down on one of the benches that looked out over the landscape and she just took in the view.  Alex came over a few minutes later and sat beside Tobin.  “It really will be ok Tobin.  You’re a terrific person and player.  We all fall down sometimes. We all have lessons to learn.  This will make you stronger and it will strengthen your team.  They were relying a lot on you.  Maybe you were feeling some of that pressure too.” Tobin listened.  What Alex said made a lot of sense.  “You know Lex, I thank God for you. He knew exactly what he was doing sending you here to visit me.” Alex looked at Tobin with caring eyes. “Yes I think he did.  I’m glad I’m here with you.”

They hung out a while longer and then decided to head back.  They grabbed a couple subs for dinner.  When they arrived at the condo just after six-thirty, the Seattle game was scheduled to start at seven. “Ok, so you still want to watch the match right,” Alex asked?  “I have too, I promised Linds, Allie and Kling.  “Ok let’s do this.”  Alex pulled out a couple plates and Tobin grabbed a couple beers along with a bag of chips and they sat down in front of the television.  Tobin got up and went to change out of her jeans.  She came back with her lucky UNC sweats and t-shirt.  Alex looked at her and grinned.  “Good choice.”  Tobin sat down…..”Alright ladies….let’s do this…..go Thorns!!!!”