I am generally good at things, especially things I enjoy. I’m pretty patient and that affords me the opportunity to practice a fair amount. If I do suck at something, I quietly practice a ton when no ones looking so that I can suck at it less. Then, when I have a pretty good handle on it, I whip it out in public and stun people with my brilliance. I did this with flaring, blowing fire, backflipping, juggling and a host of other random things that I have become relatively good at. Recently, I started playing action football with some mates at work. We have a team that plays other companies once a week.
How hard can football really be? It involves kicking (something I have become good at since watching 300 and Sparta kicking anything I could find into an imaginary wishing well) a ball into a rectangular opening. I mean, I was under no illusion that I would get onto the astroturf and channel the totem spirit Pele, but I figured I could hold my own. I guess this is not the first time that I have been unequivocally, undeniably and inconceivably incorrect.
My first game I was put into goals, in spite of my “I can bring the thunder of Thor down on our opponent” chants. Disappointed that I wasn’t going to go straight into a goal scoring position, I decided to show the team that I can bring it with some spider monkey skills. “Eye on the ball, stop it from getting past.” No problem, I have good reflexes. Wrong again. Not only did I let an array of slow moving, easily stoppable shots into the goals, the ones I did manage to save, I did so with my forehead, nose and netheryaya. We lost 16-4 or something stupid like that.
Next game. I have meditated on the ball. I am one with the turf, I got this. My team mates decided to give me a chance to shine in-field. First mistake. Let’s just say it is a good thing that action football is played in an enclosed space, so I only got to send the ball into orbit a few times. Apparently Sparta-kicking a soccer ball sends it to an imaginary wishing well, in another dimension. Which happens to be in a a dimension void of anything that resembles goal posts. At half time, I was put back into the goals. Second mistake. We lost 12-6 or something ridiculous.
Third time lucky. I decide that my tactical ploy of panicking when I got the ball was not as effective as I originally thought. “Keep calm, Bro.” Cool.
Fail. Apparently you have to aim to pass. And wildly kicking at the goals (which always ended up going in a direction perpendicular to that of the target) is not the way to do it. But, my luck was about to change. Just after second half, I managed to score a goal! Sure, I had gone down in the box and landed on my hip which cause my leg to reflex jerk and some how bumped the ball through the defenders legs and across the line, but it was my first goal EVER. I celebrated. If I wasn’t so out of breath I would have backflipped WHILE breathing fire. But, I was alone. You don’t celebrate when you lose 19-1.
I have gotten better, I manage to save one or two goals with my hands. I can also pass the ball now, yeah it is to the other team, but it is a start. I don’t consider myself an asset to the team, but I have fun. And that is what counts. For me.