Monday, December 11, 2006


I limped into the work again today. By now this is no surprise to my coworkers who simply smirk and ask, “How’d the game go? Did you win?” I reply with the same bemused smile they’ve come to expect and begin regaling the latest saga.

No position is more fun than goalie. Well, the way I play, goalie isn’t really an accurate descriptor; it’s more like a goalie/sweeper. It is all instinct; hesitate for a moment and you’re beaten. Pure passion, aggression and gobs of cockiness with no thought of the consequences. It doesn’t matter if you are going to collide full speed, it doesn’t matter if you’re putting your head between an opposing player’s foot and the ball. The only thinking, if you can call it that, is the knowledge that the ball is in your box and it belongs to you and not on their foot or the back of net.

Up until last weekend, it had been 15 years since I last played keeper. While I didn’t shut the other team down like last week I made a few brilliant saves, stole the ball off a number of attackers way out on the red line, and even got one shot on goal (as keeper).

The second half, our regular keeper arrived, and I managed two quick goals (one a double nutmeg of defender and keeper) before enjoying a forced retirement to, you guessed it, sweeper.

You feel so alive on the field it brought to mind a conversation I had with a friend recently returned from Latin America. Upon returning to the North, what struck her were not American conveniences or even our infamous rudeness, but the lack of passion, the distance and the hesitation. Abroad, life and death were tangible. The people could only respond by living passionately for the moment.

Soccer, when played with intensity is pure passion. It was not until we were raising pints in celebration after our victory that I realized my knee made grinding noises when I bent it and my pinky wasn’t functioning properly.

But, running the risk of mistaking fútbol for football, the immortal words of Shane Falco still apply, even in our 27th Division Co-Ed Indoor League, “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever.”