Monday, February 14, 2011


I swear that Joe Woodard is no regular human. There is no way that this extraordinary man cannot impress a person; he is potential local legend at Nipawin Bible College. Oh sure, you can tell me that he is just another guy and that everybody has some personality traits that set them apart from other guys. However, let me spin my yarn about the man who has become the equivalent to one of my "mighty men" (although I am not comparable in the least to King David, nor has Joe taken up the sword on my behalf and fought his way through the enemy to get me a cup of water).
Joe is a might big man. Blessed with a 6' 5" frame that is complemented by his broad-shouldered build, this intimidating figure has the heart and soul of the most chivalrous knight. With a sharp and thoughtful mind pokes and prods deeply for answers and a rational reminiscent of the many of history's greatest thinkers, he never accepts things blindly but always looks deeper for the foundation upon which the question is based on. His heart is passionate and dedicated to whatever it becomes set upon, but yet seems to avoid many of the objects and ideas that entrap any less focused individuals. He speaks softly and with great conviction, which takes a person off guard if they were judge his character and personality purely on this physical stature. His soul produces a contagious joy and passion that bursts forth from deep within, and yet it also will ache intensely with the hurts that come with life. He has and will continue to touch and change the hearts and minds of humanity, creating the ability to think deeper and look past the present sufferings of this world and focus on the glory that is coming for those who believe in Jesus Christ. This is what makes Joe Woodard the incredible person he is.
But I have not written this blog to bring to light his inner, sensitive side, as his humbleness would not allow it. My purpose here is to further clarify the heroic actions that have taken a quiet Alberta boy and turned him into one the the most memorable soccer players that I have ever played with.
"Why then", you may ask, "is that emotionally charged paragraph preceding the story of soccer!? You made it sound like the story was going to say that Joe single handedly rushed into a burning house and rescued the residents before suffering some injury that will plague him the rest of his life." To this I give the following answer: Joe has a passion for indoor soccer. You hear it every time he speaks about the past games he has played, or the memorable miracle run in the NISL playoffs in the 2008-2009 season. And it is this love of soccer that will forever keep him in the lore of the NBC Royals soccer history annuls. Let me explain a bit of how he achieved this prestigious status.
I played indoor soccer with Joe in my first two years of Bible College, and as a result have had a much closer and critical look at how he plays the game. He is an unsung hero of the sport, the Ron Francis of the indoor soccer world. Compile a list of the "greatest" players to play NISL, or make an All-Star team from players from the last half decade and I can almost guarantee you that I would be the only one to put down Joe's name on that voting ballet. The reason? Joe isn't flashy. He doesn't ball handle like Matthew Thiessen, he doesn't shoot like Josh Braun or play as physical as Adam Yadlowsky. Joe cannot control the game like a Jason Taylor, or pass as quick and accurately as Tim Schellenburg. However, Joe does the seemingly little things that save games and that allow a goalie to play a smarter and more relaxed game. So what does he do that creates the argument that he deserves to be recognized as an elite stay-at-home defenseman? Joe "The Wall" Woodard is the undisputed shot blocking king of the Nipawin Indoor Soccer League and the Prairie Athletic Conference.
Very, very rarely will Joe make a mistake while he is on defense and the other team has the ball. In fact, by "very, very rarely" I mean that I remember one solitary time that he failed to stop a ball that was in his vicinity, and in his defense he still got a piece of it. It was his first year playing and the ball just happened to defect off his mighty oak-like legs into the net. Further more, it wasn't a goal that cost us a win, it merely cost me a shut-out. Since then I have no memory of him failing to stop a ball that is fired into his direction. If it is possible for him to get his body in the way of the shot, he will. And this past weekend, Joe "The Wall" Woodard made the best defensive play of the tournament.
Me and Joe had been asked to play on a NBC alumni soccer team so that there would be a fourth team during the opening PAC tournament. Naturally we said yes, and the team that we had turned out to be competitive, skilled and incredibly fun to play with. Now our third game pitted us against the NBC Royals, who were the favorites to win the tournament (as they would later do). However, our team held a 1-0 lead for over half of the game, which was surprising because we were a bunch of older, old of shape people who were playing against teams that had been training for the past 3 months for these tournaments. Of course the Royals kept pushing for the tying goal, which the got courtesy of Andrew Jensen. They also got the winning goal from a persistent Kyle Larson, who put the ball in the net on a great third effort. But after this is when "the play" went down.
Matt Thiessen was pinned up along the wall and was obviously wanting to get the ball to a teammate. However, he had his head down trying to keep the ball protected and eventually took a bit of a guess on where to pass the ball. It just so happened that Troy Lydiate, arguably one of the most skilled players in the tournament , read the play and intercepted the ball before rushing off along the wall towards my net.
Now Troy has blazing speed and a spectacularly accurate and hard shot, so him rushing down the sideline towards me with no one in range to challenge him is enough for any goaltender to say say a prayer. I hobbled out to attempt to cut off some angle, but with a torn right groin I couldn't have possibly taken enough angle away from Troy. Now Troy is a very intelligent player and I believe that he knew that my right side was weak and open, which gave him a glorious opportunity to place a ball anywhere to my right with a great chance of it finding the net behind me. But the near certainty of a put-away goal was thwarted the unselfish and desperate efforts of "The Wall".
As Troy was winding up to fire the ball home past my crouching, pitiful form, I picked up a blurry figure in my peripheral vision. A large red jersey with powerful legs came whistling across the court as quick as ANY player could have. As Troy released the shot with nothing but net in mind, one of Joe's large, powerful legs planted itself right in front on the shot. WHHHAAAACKKKK!!!!! The ball smoked the upper calf of Joe before caroming off, ending the scoring threat.
Now this might not seem like an act of heroism, but I can tell you from experience that having Troy fire a ball at you with such velocity makes the most experienced of keepers cringe. And Joe isn't known for speed, but the entire crowd agreed that seeing Joe spring from one side of the gym to the other so quickly was one of those things that you must see to believe. It is this play that should have earned Joe the game MVP for our team and should place him in PAC lore for generations to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Skunks, Drunks and Punks

This summer was quite interesting for me, mainly because I worked a job that I thought I never would work: Park Security. It was certainly a job that required patience, nerves of steel and a flashlight, and luckily enough for the park I had one of the three. It is actually amazing how much a blinding Maglite can do for ones reputation; one look at the beauty and people are whispering to each other "Whoa man, that is a serious flashlight! This guy must mean business, quick, let's shut our traps and go to sleep before he tests that thing out on our heads."
I know what you are thinking at the moment; it is something along the lines of "OK, I get it, you had a cool flashlight. Now cut to the chase and give the meat and potatoes: did you or did you not have to fight people? Give me the story man!" Normally I would draw this out with a ton of boring nonsense just to fill in space, but I will have pity on those reading today, mainly because my inconsistence in the blogging world is something that should be looked down upon. But because of my plethora of possible stories to tell, I shall be hard pressed to come up with just one. However, I luckily have one that I just thought of, so I shall grace you all with its action packed-ness!
One thing about the park is that it is a magnet for idiots. I thought that my brother was just over-reacting when he would come home and whine about the morons that would come up and expect the poor souls who worked there to be their personal slaves. I don't know how it was during the day, but for the night shifts the definite majority of these fools went to the beach where they would be thinking that they could get away with anything. Oh no, not while Jeremy "The Muscle" Loseth was on shift! Why, I would creep up on these people and leap from the shadows to chase them away! Don't believe me? Let me elaborate...
One night at about midnight I thought i should make a walk down to the beach to make sure that no hooligans were partying there. I proceeded to drive the park truck down to the parking lot and go for my round, which is no more than taking a walk down to the beach and then walking back to the truck. Anyways, I strolled down the path leisurely as I didn't want to step on a skunk (which is a frequent hazard at the park), coming to a stop on the little hill that overlooks the lake. However, everything was not as peaceful as it seemed, as I spotted limes and alcoholic beverage bottles! Now the park enforces a strict no drinking on the beach rule, and I always seemed to get on at the time when people would go and do such evil in public. (Disclaimer: I have nothing against drinking in moderation, but when there are rules and you blatantly go against such things...tisk tisk). Anyways, normally I would have shrugged it off and come to the conclusion that it was from earlier on and the hoodlums were long since gone, but I started to piece things together. For one, the bottles were half full yet, and the limes were still fresh and unsqueezed. There were also styrofoam cups that were unused, and the smell of fear was in the air. This, pieced together with the fact that the bottles weren't on that table an hour ago caused my suspicion meter to go into the red zone.
Like the spider monkey I am, I was quick to act. I walked up to the beach wall, and, while standing on the edge of the concrete blocks, then shone my flashlight out on the lake to see if I could see bodies in the water. However, while I was doing this, I heard some stifled giggling underneath my feet. Frozen with a bit of fear, I slowly lowered the beam of my flashlight down so it was directly underneath me, and what do you think I saw? Two young ladies, each clutching a Corona Breezer in their hands, squinting into the fierce glow of my LED. Stunned that they were under my nose all along, I struggled to find words before spitting them out. The conversation was as follows:
"What are you two doing?"
"Nothing" *giggling drunkenly*
"Do you guys know that you can't be drinking on the beach?"
"Do you know that you aren't supposed to be on the beach after dark?"
"OK, well you should leave now..."
"OK, we'll clean up the bottles"
"Darn right you will!"
I left the two teens to clean up and by the time I got up to my truck, they were climbing the stairs behind me. Thinking that the trouble was done with, I decided to go back to the kiosk and stare into the blackness of the night from a secure place. Only a couple minutes after staring into boredom, a vehicle pulled up. Now this is no ordinary vehicle, this is a blue mustang with a white stripe down the middle of it. There were two teenage guys in the car, and they looked like they were up to no good. However, they gave us the name of a cabin owner, so we really had no choice but to let them into the park. However, my sleuth-like instincts came into play yet again, and I pondered to myself "There were two guys...there were two girls...interesting". I decided to go out on a limb and decided that these punks were going to get drunk with the girls from the beach and cause mayhem throughout the park! On my watch! I straightened my back and clenched my flashlight in my iron-like grasp, and decided that I would crash this party. I slowly drove down to the boat docks, turned off the beastly truck and then took off like a shadow in a dungeon. Using all of my cunning and hunting skills, along with the military skills I picked up from the T.V. I managed to locate the rebels: they were sitting around the parking lot at the beach! Rotters! I decided I had one choice: Sneak up on them and freak the pants off of them.
Slowly I started the stalk, literally crawling at times to use the cover of night to my advantage. No twig dared snap underneath my foot, knowing full well that my wrath would descend upon it. Luckily for me it had rained not long before, allowing the ground to be soft enough to cushion my steps. Once I got in a straight path from them, I skulked among the pines by the path to get close to them and hear what they were saying. How, this is called reconnaissance, not creeping, so I have the right to do so. Once I figured out that they didn't have guns or knives to shank me, I stepped from the darkness and clicked the Maglite on. I have never seen more frightened faces in my entire life! A beer bottle feel from one of the blokes hand's and clattered harmlessly into the flower bed below them, spilling out the remainder of its contents. Calm and collected on the outside, I sneered at them before posing the conversation starter.
"So, having fun out here?"
", ya."
"You two, didn't I tell you drinking at the beach isn't allowed?"
"Well, I warned you once, and I have had enough of your nonsense. I want your greasy faces out of my park pronto! Now move it on the double or I'll break out Mother Justice and Father Discipline!"
*scrambling ensues as the struggle to clean up after themselves* "Yes sir, anything you say sir, I'll polish your shoes sir."
With a look of utter disgust, I snarled and told them I was wearing Chuck Taylors and they didn't need polishing. Ha, fools, I showed them. Confidently swaggering on the outside and positively shaking on the inside, I started back to get to my truck, but I hadn't got twenty feet before a snobbish voice muttered "You know, you'd still have your job if you let us stay."
Doing my best to hide my nervous reply, I shot her a icy glare with my flint-like eyes before replying.
"My conscience would bother me too much if I let drunks run around wherever and whenever. Now get going!"
Walking promptly away, I briskly walked back to my truck, started it up and drove up to a campsite that was nearby to make sure the rogues were going to leave. Once they did, I followed them out and made sure they never got back in, which I don't think they did. Ah yes, the glories of being a security guard!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

NISL Origins Part Three

Now about the actual soccer seasons that I have experienced: I really have two different experiences with league play. I have played in two different leagues: NISL and PAC. Now NISL stands for Nipawin Indoor Soccer League (I think I mentioned that in my first entry) and PAC stands for Prairie Athletic Conference (I think), and these are two totally different leagues. NISL is a fun league that is locally run and has teams from Nipawin and Tisdale come out every Tuesday to play. It is organized by volunteers and is a great way to get out of the homework routine and into a physically fit specimen in no time at all. I have played in this league for two years now, once as the keeper for Expired Milk and then this year as the keeper of the Screeching Eels. Yes, two totally different teams in all respects, but I managed to play with one of my original teammates this year: Joe Woodard. I will tell you more about him later.
Why were these two teams so drastically different? Well, Expired Milk finished second last for the league last year (we had the tie breaker at the end of the season) and the Screeching Eels finished third in the league this year and swept the sixth, second and first place teams in the playoffs to take home the trophy and the glory. Ya, drastically different, but they were both excellent teams to play on.
I guess I may as well tell you about the players on my teams. Besides myself as the keeper, the Expired Milk had eight players, and I will include a short bio on each of these players so that you know more information that you won’t need to know.
§ Hannah Wahlstrom: She played defence for us and did a decent job of it; got less scared of the ball as the year went on.
§ Brianna Shore: Played forward and filled in for me when I got hurt; she had to leave after the first semester to go and get married. I think she scored a couple of times if my memory serves me right.
§ Sara Beuckert: Played defence and was mighty fine at stealing the ball from opposing forwards. Probably one of the best female defenseman in the league.
§ Joe Woodard: The six foot five giant was also my king shot blocker. Many nights he came back to the dorm with soccer imprints and bruises. A rock defensively and one of the hardest workers in the league.
§ Austin Stickel: Played with us for the second semester and added much speed to the team. It also lightened the load on offense from Josh Ives, and they worked pretty well together.
§ Doug Robinson: Played only a few games because of an ankle injury, but he has a cannon of a shot and it’s pretty accurate as well. Won the shootout winner in a playoff match against Tisdale, officially putting us into the playoffs.
§ Jon Kullman: Played forward for us during the first semester before going back to B.C. He had a decent shot and was the one that grabbed the ball out of the air when Matt Thiessen smoked me.
§ Josh Ives: The offensive powerhouse for our team; also the quickest and hardest working for last year. Won the leagues Most Improved Player award last year and his teams MVP award this year. With out question, he deserved both.
So then, there is our team last year. Most of the time we played with one sub, so we got pretty tired after the two games we played. This was also thanks to our lack of experience, skill and knowledge of how to play the game, although by the end of the season we were the most improved team and played much, much better together. We had lots of fun and were cheered on greatly, which in turn made us play harder against opposing teams. Actually, we played some pretty close games throughout the year and nearly upset major teams, but we were overcome with weariness and yielded to their awesome skill.
My team this year was much more skilled (I hate to say that, but we were), as all of us had played soccer before. What’s that, who was on the team this year? Well, if I have to tell you…
§ Josh Braun: The MVP of the league and top-scoring player. He blocks tons of shots, can kick accurately and powerfully and never gives up on a play. Played defence and was dang good at it (did I mention he won the scoring title from defence!). Josh was also was the goon of the team.
§ Joe Woodard: Yes, the giant returns and is better than last year. He missed more games because of injury and illness, but he still blocked a ridiculous amount of shots and shut down some of the best players in the league with frightening consistency.
§ Jenna Clark: Got voted as the Best Defensive Female and deserved it more than anyone else in the league. Looks way too calm when she’s playing, but is slick and has a cannon of a shot.
§ Tim Schellenberg: One of the sneakiest ball handlers in the league and very quick. He can cut a ball in the total opposite direction without moving his body and set up many goals throughout the year.
§ Heidi Schellenberg: Wife of Tim and is a top-notch finisher. She is a one-time Top Female Scorer and would have had a good chance of doing it again this year if she hadn’t missed the first half season because she had a kid.
§ Jenny Out: Looks like she’s relaxed all the time and was one of the top women in scoring this year. She also can get the ball away from the opposite team without breaking a sweat and finishes quite well.
§ Travis ?????: A quick kid with a natural tendency to set people up after running the ball down. He also got his scoring touch when it mattered most: The end of the season and rode it into the playoffs.
§ Joel Friesen: The fearless captain of our PAC team and a great forward, he finished top five in the league in scoring. He also would set up in the corner and proceed to somehow get a perfect pass into the middle for someone to simply tap into the open net.
§ Aaron Kennedy: Probably one of the best defensive forwards in the game, he saved many games by coming back and stopping a shot that had “back of the net” written all over it. He also finished third on the team in scoring and would play defence with equal ease to offense.
Yes, our team was quite accomplished within NISL for the 2008/2009 season, doing better than we (or at least I) thought we would this year. I was hoping for a finish around the middle of the pack, but once we started to play I realized this team had grit and all-around skill that would do everything possible to win. However, I think that the greatest attribute of our team was that we were all sportsmen (and women!), considered by many teams I talked to as “their favourite team to play”. I felt honoured to play with these individuals and wish them all the best in their lives.
This brings me to my next and last section of my NISL story: Will I continue my career as a keeper when I return next year? Well, I must confess that I am not entirely sure what I will be doing as of next year when I go back to NBC for a third year. During the last PAC tournament in Millar, I must have blocked a shot awkwardly with my thumb, as it has been swollen ever since that weekend. Yes, two and a half months later I am still hurting from the last shot I had at clinching a PAC tournament title, which was halted by a strong Briercrest team. I actually went to the doctors about it after I got home from school, and he told me that my ligament in my thumb had detached from my bone and that it could take another 4-5 months to heal. However, I am sure that I have set that back from repeatedly using and abusing it at work. Yes, we shall see what unfolds, but as of right now, I would doubt a return to NISL in the fall.

NISL Origins Part Two

Shortly into my career as the net minder for the franchise Expired Milk, I quickly became a fan favourite. There are numerous explanations for this happening: 1). People generally cheer for underdogs and we were “underneath a poodles paw” per say. 2). People pitied my inevitable ridicule. 3). People actually enjoyed seeing balls being kicked at my face (humanity is sick!) 4). People liked seeing me leaping and diving for balls, as my style of goaltending is “interesting”. 5). The crowd was actually a select few individuals who could be as noisy as they wanted to be without being written up. 6). Insert personal opinion here.
Now, I shall let you pick the option that you feel led to believe. However, I will build on two of those choices: Numbers three and four. Hopefully this will add to my story without taking away from the point that I hope to get to at the end of all of this.
Part of my reasoning for number three is that my face has had many opportunities to have itself rearranged by the soccer ball. These unwanted services always is the result of someone who was talented, and, as a result, had a kick that would hum as it passed you. Have you ever seen a ball break the sound barrier? I have seen it on a few different occasions; oddly enough, most of those times I have had an intense burning in the general area of my head. Anyways, from my first week playing net to the more recent weeks I have had a target on my face. Forget the gaping iron and mesh contraption behind me, personal points are scored for ringing one off of my moneymaker. I have the honor of being hit in the face by Matt Thiessen, Ivan Desharnais and Lindsay Anderson. I also got hit in the chin my some kid named Luke the other week, but I managed to stay conscious. If you know anything about the first three of the players I mentioned you would know that they are all somewhat talented and can pick corners easily. My question to them is, “Why my flippin’ face!?”
The explanation to option four is simple: I played too much floor hockey and was clueless for the different stances you needed for soccer. Oh sure I was good down low and shocked people with my flexibility, but I was nearly useless up high. To compensate for my utter lack of positioning and my teams low scoring I became an entertainer to help give us a boost of energy. I often would leap in the air to save a simple shot, contort my body and flop around on the ground like a pretzel having seizures or run the ball up the court and use my mad moves to stun the opposition (you have to see it to believe it). These self-sacrificing moves could get the crowd into the game or repulse them, along with getting me hurt.
The most memorable experience of my facial injuries came in my first ever week of playing net. We were playing the formidable I.T. United in one of the many mismatched games that season and it showed. I was doing a decent job playing the gruelling job, and my defence was clogged up in front of me. I was sitting on my knees in front of the net and was waiting to see the ball pop out of the fray. I mean seriously, how can you see a ball when there are seven bodies in front of you all kicking and screaming? I think the correct answer in you can’t. So this fray was making me edgy, as the ball tends to squirt out and somehow it always ends up on foot of one of their players. This was no different than any of these times, as the ball squirted out and it headed straight to the man I didn’t want to see before my life flashed before my eyes: Matthew Thiessen.
Now imagine your in my position: A wall of pink and red jerseys in front of you while you are bobbing your head everywhere trying to find the ball. Then, silently and smoothly, the solid wall in front of you parts like the Red Sea and you have a clear view of the ball. Matt Thiessen is running to the ball. Everyone is watching him run towards the ball. The world is silent and in slow motion, stunningly gorgeous in my opinion. Well, I mean that was until Matt struck the ball and the world shattered into its fallen state once more. The ball, moving at about three thousand miles an hour, hit me square in the face and mashed my nose into my spine. My glasses, which couldn’t be supported without my nose, leapt off of my face into the netting in the back of the yawning cage. I collapsed backwards with fireworks bursting around my face and no clue with what was going on with the outside world. I opened my eyes moments after realizing that I still alive and not going home to see my new house in heaven. Turns out that the ball went straight in the air and was bouncing in the crease before one of my teammates grabbed it to stop play. I lived, although I am probably suffering from severe brain damage.
Now, I have been hurt playing soccer. I have often been asked how I haven’t hurt myself with some of the awkward moves I somehow ended up in by my net. To this question I simply answer “Ah, but I have injured myself.” It’s not just soccer balls and shoes that have hurt me, but my own self. In fact I harmed myself so bad I thought my soccer career so all but over…let me explain with more depth and meaning.
I had a bad back coming to school as a result of a summer mishap involving a house beam and myself. In fact, this was the excuse that I used to get myself out of being suckered into playing outdoor soccer that year…I was grown up enough this year to make the decision this year. Anyways, I thought it had healed enough when I signed up for indoor soccer and this turned out to be a bittersweet thing for me. I suffered immensely throughout the soccer season, sometimes having to lie flat on the hard floor to breathe. I tried to play through this pain, but I missed numerous games as a result of the issue. My problem? I had dislocated ribs, or so the chiropractor that I went to told me (I have no question that it was, as the chiropractor is an elder at a local church). I didn’t get to play PAC soccer as a result of my injury, but I did find out was wrong with me, which I probably wouldn’t have done if I didn’t play soccer. So, as I said before, it was a bittersweet victory to play last year. Again, soccer isn’t all glory, but it can pay off. So kids, get checked out at a local medical professional if you are hurting before playing soccer!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ahhh soccer... a sport that is more commonly known throughout the world as "football". I'm pretty confident that if this world was to have sport (like the national sports of Canada are hockey and lacrosse...hmmm... I wonder what's more popular?) it would be safe to consider soccer as that sport. I guess that pillaging could be considered a close second, but I still think soccer is more widely embraced by the masses that populate this planet.
So then, why am I talking about soccer after an absence of eleven months that left all three of the people that read my blog in therapy? Well, I guess you could call it the "late awakening": a delayed sense of enjoyment in my blogging. I have no clue why I quit in the first place, as my excuse of being too busy really didn't follow through with how busy I figured I would be. Sure, school has assignments that need to be finished and it has community that needs the presence of someone cool, so it's only natural that they would employ me to find someone to find this person. Yes, I too was hoping that they were coming to me figuring I was the key to community, but evidently I wear tight pants and people are biased towards this imagery.
Back to the matter at hand: I am blogging again. Now I realize that I have committed to it many times and broken that agreement with myself more times than I have told stories, but that is why I will probably not have anyone read my blog until I prove consistency. I readily accept this reality and in fact applaud it; no one should be deceived by someone who gave up piano and is a born-again coconut eater. Yes my friends, I would be skeptical as well.
This blog entry, by the way, has a point behind it. I realize that my frequent rabbit trails lead me into bad marks (ask my Communications teacher Mark Koop) and I am OK with this. It is part of my personality and I am working on fixing it. Actually, perfecting it may be the proper terminology in this case, for I am sure that many would enjoy it if I were to keep my personality and get rid of the annoying shadow that tags along with it. However, as long as I am human I will live on earth, and as long as I live in earth I will be susceptible to stupidity.
Now I shall start the story with the origins of my relationship with soccer: It really started last year while I was in my freshman year. I was introduced to NISL (Nipawin Indoor Soccer League, and was to play for the legendary Expired Milk team. With our intimidating pink jerseys and our lack of soccer knowledge, we were a force on the court. Yes sir and/or madam, we played with joy in our hearts and songs on our lips. Mind you, the joy left at the sound of the whistle and the songs were rather depressing, but we played nonetheless. My career started with one game as a forward and then it dissolved into the position that I feared most: keeper *shudder*
Now you can probably relate in some way or another to the way that I feel. I wanted to be the team hero on offense and lift my team to the playoffs. I wanted to be adored in ways that only a highly talented player could be and have Lindor chocolates raining down upon my head as I lifted the trophy above my head. However, there was problem: I couldn't hit the net worth beans. I couldn't run and my ball handling was only slightly better than that of a comatose redwood stump. After seeing my offensive qualities my team made the decision to put me between the pipes and let me get pelted by inflated bladders.
I had never played soccer goalie before because I had come to the conclusion that it would hurt me in ways that playing forward wouldn't. I had played floor hockey goalie before and was "volunteered" every noon hour to play net, as my classmates liked seeing the scrawny kid in a hoodie having pucks pounding him and sticks slashing off his fingers. They tell me it was because I was quick and flexible but I maintain the position it was one way that they could get away with physical abuse. Yup, life was cruel to me.
Anyways, despite my pleading and constant bribing my team forced me into the yawning soccer net. It really must have looked quite humorous to the veterans of the league: A lanky, scared 18 year-old in a massive pink jersey that was meant for hockey practices. With big white runners swallowing up my feet, thin goalie gloves gracing my hands and red sports socks overtop of my pants, I stood hunched and panting on the court. I came to the hasty conclusion that there was no fun or payoff for me and that I was going to remain celibate for the rest of my life. I mean seriously, who would date the dork in crazy outfit (did I mention that the back of my jersey said “CALL ME”?). Yes, this job was bound to fail miserable. I can tell you are thinking that this is a story where I ask for pity with a side order of cookies and milk, but that is where you are wrong. This story gets worse, but it has a positive message yet, so keep reading when the next section of my story comes out…