“You can’t win ’em all,” so the adage goes. While the application of this saying has extended to the subjects of romance, academic pursuit, flying standby at the airport and khaki sales at Kohl’s, it is safe to assume that the most practical sense in which someone can say this to a fellow human being occurs when engaging in sport. You hear it all the time, and no matter how diluted those words can become, they still retain truth, and the truth behind them is difficult to accept when you have spent the majority of an athletic season buffered by a sense of invincibility. Read More
After having finally shown up late to a game, I knew better than to rely solely on my desire to play soccer in order to get myself out of bed on a Sunday morning, take a bus and three different trains and reach a somewhat remote location in time. It was an awakening of sorts, one in which I realized I had paid specifically for the privilege of playing a game I enjoy with a bunch of strangers who chose to name their team after a Prince album and song. Never again, I decided, would I arrive unprepared, whether mentally, physically or otherwise. For the final two regular season games, I would set personal precedents for promptness and diligence on the pitch which I could realize as a standard for my play going into the playoffs. This would be the turning point. Read More
The weekend vacation thanks to July 4th provided a welcome respite to a young but already challenging season. We now know that this team is at least half-decent despite being complete strangers thrown together in an effort to create something. A win and a draw: that’s not a horrible way to start the summer, and we sat tied at the top of the league table going into the third game. Two weeks to think about the next fixture is an irritating period of time, and I spent a lot of it consuming the book Soccernomics, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski. Much of it comes from the Moneyball mentality of applying statistical analysis to athletic competition. I searched for some hidden answers, some key to achieving soccer glory, at least at an amateur level. Alas, no such answer was to be found, but I did manage to slowly build excitement for the next game.