Friday, November 13, 2009
Soccer was just catching on in my part of the country when I was growing up, and as a result, I started playing only at the age of eleven or twelve. This meant that although it was too late for me to become especially good at the game, I did develop an appreciation for it.
I don't follow the game religiously, but I do keep an eye on how the US National team is doing, follow the World Cup every four years, and occasionally will watch an English Premier League game when I find a pub -- like the Richmond Arms in Houston -- that makes a point of showing them live.
So I was pleased to see the national team finish first in the North American/Caribbean qualification tournament for the 2010 World Cup, and hope to see -- dare I say, look forward to seeing -- it fare better than it did in 2006. (Ugh. Looking back into the archives, I see that a draw with Italy was the high point of that one...) I hear that the team has a more challenging schedule of friendlies leading up to the tournament this time, so between that and the team having no other direction to go, I am cautiously optimistic.
In any event, the game brings back fond memories of my youth, as did three videos I found recently, which present the good, the bad, and the ugly of soccer: amazing goals, goalkeeper blunders, and own goals.
I'm posting the video of goalkeeper blunders here because it reminds me of my favorite goal. My brother's team and mine were playing against each other once, and I was playing halfback as usual at the time. His team was controlling play most of the time, to the point that their goalkeeper thought it would be cute to sit down at one end of his goal.
I eventually noticed this and so, the next time I got the ball, I shot on goal from midfield and enjoyed watching their keeper scurry to his feet and miss the ball, which sailed in untouched and stretched the net on the opposite side of the goal. I also enjoyed seeing him standing up and acting like a goalkeeper for the rest of the game. (With that in mind, it should be easy to guess which of the above is my favorite goalkeeper blunder.)