Monday, February 13, 2012

Soccer 101

You've probably all been wondering just where the hell I've been for the past few days.  Well, the answer is that I partied like it was 1999 on Saturday night, had a beach day with the family on Sunday, and yesterday I didn't post because I was preparing for my first ever soccer match.  I know it's difficult to believe that a well rounded and much decorated athlete like myself has never once played in a soccer game, but its true.  Needless to say, I was fired up and ready to show the world that pure athleticism conquers everything and that I would be a natural wonder at the most popular sport in the world.

This is how I envisioned myself playing in my first soccer game:

This is a more accurate photo of how it went for me:

So, unfortunately for my team and me, it turns out I was not a natural at soccer but at least I had a great time and tried with everything in me to make a difference.  I have to be honest, I was somewhat surprised and how clueless I was out there because I've watched my fair share of soccer on TV and I know the basics.  For instance, I know that Robert Van Persie is a wuss who just hangs out by the goal waiting for an easy shot, Lionel Messi is awesome, Theo Walcott is always man of the match for whoever is playing against Arsenal, Dutch footballers all have extremely hot girlfriends, and Wayne Rooney digs going to low rent brothels and paying for naughty business with 50 year old wh0res (allegedly)...all these things I know, so I should have been totally great first time out right?  Even though I still have room for improvement, I did learn a few things about the great game of soccer:

  • There are rules - who knew there were so many rules in soccer?  For instance, I learned about five minutes into the game that it is not acceptable for me to destroy a guy half my size from behind just because I think I can get to the ball.  Turns out a move like that means the other team gets to kick the ball right at your goal from very short range and all you're allowed to do is stand about ten yards away, cover your nuts, and hope for the best.
  • Law of probability - When the above situation takes place, the other team is highly likely to score against you upon kicking the free shot.
  • Law of probability 2.0 - When a team consisting of guys who are mostly in their late 30's and early 40's plays against a team of dudes in their early 20's who all come from places where soccer is a religion taught at an early age, things will most likely not go well for the older team.
  • Don't defend ten yards behind the rest of your defense - Holding the line was the most mentally challenging thing for me.  I understand that if you're the Lone Ranger ten yards behind the other guys defending, you are essentially f*cking your own team because they're expecting you to be on the same line as them so the other team can't go behind you without getting caught offsides.  Unfortunately for me (and my team), I kept getting suckered into drifting back by some crafty little bastard on the other team.  Next thing I knew, it was an all out jail break and I was the responsible party.  Stupid offsides rules.
  • Never, ever, pass the ball in front of your own goal - Seems like a simple enough concept but when you're out there in the thick of things, it gets all confusing.  Case in point, at one point in the game, I had a moment of brilliance and actually stole the ball from my competitor.  All of a sudden, dudes were coming at me from left and right, and like some half witted rookie, I spazzed out, saw my buddy Mark to my right (standing directly in front of our goal), and I passed it to him.  What happened next probably took less than three seconds to unfold but it seemed like an eternity at the time.  I made the pass and as soon as I kicked the ball, Mark looked at me with a look that combined total despair and shock that he knew someone who was that f*cking stupid, then there was a blur that flashed by him, then a sound similar to a whip cracking as the ball hit the back of our net at about 350mph.  My bad dawg!  My bad!
When the final whistle blew, the result of the game was decidedly not in our favor but what the hell, I had a blast, tried something new, and got a healthy respect for the game of soccer.  Even though I didn't get to do a righteous goal celebration complete with fireworks, chicks making out with each other, and a live mariachi band playing 'One Ton Tomato' (I've played the scene out a thousand times in my mind), I've quickly developed a love for the game and can't wait to get back out there.  OLE! OLE OLE OLE!!!...

Bonus material - note the vicious battle scar just above my ankle.  That's what happens when you play like a man:

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