Life Without Soccer

WU 2009-2010

When you do something for 14 of your 20 years in life, you would think it may be hard to quit. Missing everything about it, finding nothing to do but crave that thing that use to consume so much time. However, it has been quite relaxing without it. Needless to say, soccer has not completely left my life. It was a part of my past and it will always hold a dear place in my heart. I just don’t have to stress over it anymore.

Life beyond the field has been great. No more stress over playing time, 6 a.m. practices, feelings of inadequacy, and definitely no more bench time. Right before I decided to quit, I asked my friend if he missed playing his sport since he quit. He told me, less and less each day.

Soccer has always been there as a time consumer, something to stay out of trouble, an instant friend builder, and as an exercise habit. Now since it is gone, there are still time consumers, things to keep out of trouble, and friends galore. The only thing that is missing now is the exercise habit, which is slowly coming back.

Soccer is fun to play, talk about, and watch. However, when the passion for it is gone, it is generally time to move on. Once something no longer becomes fun, exciting, or easy to choose over everything else, that means the passion has gone.

Quitting something is hard to do. But when there are people who still treat you the same and make you feel included, it is much easier. I do miss soccer, but less and less each day.

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Kids

Here’s a break from the normal soccer stuff. I ran into this situation and I just had to tell it.

Kids. They are hilarious and they don’t even realize it half the time.

I was out at a restaurant the other day and engaging in the conversation at the table when all of a sudden a loud noise, resembling the release of some bodily gas, came whirring in the door. The whole table looks to see who in their right mind would be so carefree about such a thing in public. What do we see sitting on the floor with a smile about a mile long? A little boy, about the age of 4 or 5 years old.

Now I bet the question is something like, “How did that sound come out of that little body?” Well, he had a little help. This little boy just discovered the talents of a Whoopee Cushion. He had come running into the restaurant and sat as fast as he could. He was just having a little harmless fun and little did he know that he would make everyone’s night so much better. Our entire table clapped as we were laughing hysterically and quickly asked him to do it again.

His grandparents, being pretty cool people, blew it back up and enjoyed him sitting on the air-filled rubber toy. Again, his face lit up and he was laughing at himself for entertaining us. It’s the little things in life that amuse kids and in turn amuse us.

I remember growing up and hearing my mom tell stories about the funny things we did as kids but were told never to do again. Things such as my sister covering my brother’s body in Wal-Mart smiley face stickers, or my brother coloring me with markers when I was little, or getting food everywhere when we would eat. Mom use to hurry up and grab the camera and then tell us we probably shouldn’t do it again.

Kids are good at making us laugh. The things they say and what they do, it could be a TV show. We could call it Kids Say the Darndest Things. Only if it hadn’t been done before in the 1960’s.

We enjoy watching and listening to kids daily. Kids are real. They say how they feel, do things no matter the embarrassment factor, and they’re just so cute so they don’t get frowned upon by society.

Kids will pick their nose, pick wedgies, and say just about anything that’s on their minds at that present time. I wish we could all be as honest as kids sometimes.

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Broken Promises

Ever got promised something but never received it? It’s frustrating, no matter what the “prize” is. Whether its ice cream, a free dinner, or even tickets to Disney World it can be a real bummer to be let down like that.

This has happened numerous times within the past few years on the soccer team. This thing is, is that we would still play no matter if we got prizes or not. Our coach would promise the winning team a prize for winning a 6 on 6 tournament. We love to play this short game instead of regular practice, I mean, who wouldn’t? However, to make it more fun and more competitive our coach decides to come up with prizes.

Our coach promised us ice cream for a picture contest during an away game in the hotel rooms. We get assigned rooms and we had to come up with a crazy picture with our roommates and whoever won got free ice cream. They never saw it.

That spring we were playing our 6 on 6 games and our coach promised the winning team tickets to Disney since he already had free tickets. Well, the end of the tournament was in the beginning of April. Now the coach was friends with some of the Men’s team players and he decided to give them two Disney tickets. They went and had a blast on the day that the tickets expired. Now you may be thinking, what about the team he promised them to? Yeah, they didn’t get to see them either.

The team just finished up their 6 on 6 games and so far, there were no prizes promised. I think he finally learned his lesson and stopped making promises he couldn’t make.

The bottom line here is to follow through with your promises because if you don’t, then the promises will rag on you until you finally come through. And if you never come through, well then they just won’t put any value in your words.

What’s the worst promise that someone broke to you?

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Off Sides Part Deux

Alright, so hopefully that video helped. However, the most complicated thing about off sides is not only the definition or the fact that it relies on the last defender or the ball. The most frustration thing about off sides is the refs.

Since the side line refs have to call it, they need to be paying attention to everything at once. They have to see where the player is in relation to the last defender and also at what time the ball is passed to the player who might be off sides. One of the main things about the off sides rule is that if the ball is kicked before the player moves into the off sides position, then they are not off sides.

About 50 percent of the time, the refs get the off sides call wrong. This rough percentage increases when the defending team constantly pulls the off sides trap. This happens when the defense pulls forward fast and quick right before the ball is kicked. This causes the forward to be off sides before they even realize that the defenders moved.

Here’s a clip of the Netherlands playing a great off sides trap against Australia. If you notice on the second play by play, the defense is almost all moved away from the forwards before the ball is kicked.

This takes a lot of concentration and communication. Also, the refs have to pay close attention to this. The only thing that really stinks about the off sides trap is that if the ref misses it, then they have an open net to score. This is why most teams try to avoid the trap and just rely on their defense to clear the ball away from the net. The off sides trap must be carefully practiced and executed in order to get it right.

If there are more questions about off sides then comment below.

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Offside what??

A player has a break away. He is almost to the goal and all of the defenders are behind him. His other forward is just ahead of him and he knows that he himself does not have the ability to score. his teammate is the leading goal scorer for his team so he decides to pass it. Once he passed it, his teammate shot and scored! However, this is not a goal.

How could this not be a goal? Well, it was off sides by a long shot.

Offside is a law in soccer (football) which states that if a player is in an offside position when the ball is touched or played by a team mate, he may not become actively involved in the play. A player is in an offside position if he is closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender, but only if the player is on his opponent’s half of the field.

Well doesn’t that sound confusing?

So let’s clear this up a little bit. The most confusing part of this definition is that the second to last defender is really the last defender to most people. They count the goalie as the last defender in technical terms.
Okay, so now the definition reads: A player is in an offside position when he is closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the last defender/field player/not the goalie, but only if the player is on his opponents half of the field.

A little better? Here, watch this video. This guy does a good job. Plus, visuals normally help.

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Nothing Beats This

Running down the field as fast as possible, she sees an opening to pass the ball to her other forward. It goes right to her. She continues running and finds an open spot right in front of the goal. She sprints towards it, faster than the other team’s defenders. Her teammate crosses the ball in. She spots it and jumps. All of time seems to slow down for just a moment, allowing her to head the ball at just the right spot, just the right time, and score the goal. The crowd goes wild!

Nothing beats being cheered for. Whether a person is playing an instrument, a sport, or winning an award, everyone loves the feeling of having people cheer just for them. There’s got to be something healing about that.

Any athlete will say that scoring just makes them want to score more and more. Especially since scoring goals wins the game. It’s almost like being the hero when there seems to be no hope at all, nothing can quite compare to that.

Now, scoring is an amazing feeling, but some coaches can make you not want to score. How is that possible?
Well, there was this one special coach who use to say encouraging thing such as, “Everyone believes in you but yourself,” “If you play the way you just warmed up, you’re going to lose 10-0,” and let’s just say he wasn’t mister sunshine.

One of his favorite things to say was “Shoot and know!” Now, he would say this because he wanted us to shoot the ball at the net knowing that it was going to go in. If we were that good of soccer players, then we wouldn’t have been playing for that level. If we shot the ball and did not know where we wanted to shoot at, he would make us run. This made us not want to shoot at all because we didn’t want to run. Now that same team has problems with shooting. Maybe it could have something to do with his wonderful concept of ‘shoot and know.’ We’ll let Pavlov figure out what kind of conditioning this is.

Check out this video of one of the greatest goals I have seen in a while.


 

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“A” for effort doesn’t apply here.

Seven out of 15. That’s about 46 percent, which in most school systems constitutes as failing. 22 out of 30 is about 73 percent which is normally a “C-“. Most people don’t try their hardest just to get a “C-“, or average. People try their hardest and at least get a “B”.

What’s up with the math lesson?

Well, if a player goes from having played 15 out of 15 games to 7 out of 15, then something is wrong. Granted, the reasoning for this could be because of a coaching change. However, 7 out of 15 games is still not preferred. Especially when the majority of the time they were in the game, it was for an average of 8 minutes at a time.

When this player asked the coach why they were not playing at all, the coach simply said, you need to work on endurance. Simple enough, since this player did lack in long distance skills, so they worked on it. After they got better at their long distance, worked well with the starters at practice, and improved a lot at giving 110 percent at practices, they were still keeping left bench nice and warm all game long.

Now, the issue had to do with the fact that there was a language barrier between the head coach and the player. Also the fact that the assistant coach who talked to the player didn’t tell the player straight up why they weren’t playing.

Now in most cases coaches are very good at telling players exactly what they need to work on in order to get to a starting position, but this case is unusual.

Also, going from playing in every game to playing in half of the games can take a toll on a player. It makes them not want to work as hard because it seems like their efforts are getting them nowhere.

The bottom line in this little tale is that if they aren’t playing, no matter what the coach may say, they need to step it up. So in order to see more playing time, work harder, play more aggressive, and never ever give up.

To spice things up, here’s a little poll for you.

And in the spirit of the bench warmer, here are some clips from the movie The Benchwarmers. The best clip is at the end, duuuuhh!

 

 

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