GRAFTON, Mass. — They came on a chilly Friday night to play soccer for charity. Some players had hair, some did not. A few had gray beards, and those 50 years old and up could be, presumably, members of AARP.
The game is informal, white jerseys versus red, but the fundraiser is not. The Grafton Old Men's Soccer Club, as they call themselves, raised more than $500 for the local food bank, plus a few boxes of groceries. For this rag-tag bunch of weekend warriors, twisting an ankle is worth the price.
“We usually average one pulled hamstring a week,” said Jim Thomas, 41, one of the coordinators. “Especially on colder mornings,” he said it kiddingly ... sort of.
Last Friday night, they showed up at the Grafton High School football field and played under the lights. It was a last-minute game when another scheduled event canceled, so the Old Men’s Club showed up and raised charity money for the holidays.
Usually, they meet most weekend mornings, 20 to 30 men between the ages of 40 and 60 at the soccer field in front of Wyman Gordon. The idea for the men’s club started when they bonded at their sons' school soccer games. They each chipped in $20 as an entry fee and donated the proceeds to the Grafton Food Bank.
The Friday night game was close: Red won 4-3. No injuries were reported, but before the game, Thomas said a bar-side meeting was being planned at the Grafton Inn.