I would like to thank the UK for creating professional soccer. I would also like to thank them for being absolutely horrible soccer players.
Very ironic, isn’t it? Its kind of like me teaching my wife (18 years younger than me – and an athlete) how to play tennis. Once she got the hang of it, I don’t believe I have beat her once. I’ve never been a very good tennis player, because I don’t have a good serve. No aces. No heat. Nothing. But I still love to play.
In 1980, I decided it would be fun to learn how to play tennis. So, I signed up for a class at a local college. It was really cool because the courts were indoors and beautiful. Over time, I became pretty good at moving around the court pretty fast and got my backhand game going well. I don’t know why the instructor didn’t teach us how to develop a really hard and fast serve, but it just didn’t happen. No matter. I kept winning in class. I really thought I was doing well. I actually was doing well, against other people who had also never played the game.
Our final exam in the course was a tennis tournament. Single elimination. I made it to the finals and I WON! Now I was really cocky. I thought I could beat anyone. My brothers have always been very competitive in sports. It doesn’t matter what it is, football, baseball, basketball, bad-mitten (not really) and tennis. I could never really compete with any of them in anything except baseball. I was always pretty good at that. We were all going to get together soon and they wanted to play a tennis round robin tournament. Heh, heh; They don’t know what they’re getting themselves into, I thought. they had no idea i could really play.
So, the tournament started and the only game I won was against my younger brother, but even so, it was just one game. I lost the match. I watched the rest of the tournament from the side bench of shame. Still, when the tournament was finished, I challenged each of them to separate matches. I lost every single game. The each had a great, hard serve and I had nothing. So much for being good at tennis.
As for the World Cup, those people have got to rank as some of the best athletes in the entire world. To be able to compete at such a high level for a very long time during a match is amazing to me. I would get winded on a free kick. I don’t want to put down marathon runners, triathlon competitors or anyone who woks very hard at their sport, but to me, it seems like these are the best of the best.
Me? I ride ten miles on a stationary bike every other day, with a one mile walk in between. I don’t think I could make the cut on a soccer team. Then again, if Real Salt Lake ever has open try outs, I think I’ll go just to say I did it. That way, within days after the try out, they can write, “He Tried” on my tombstone.
In any event, the competition in the World Cup is very intense and just as contagious. And, a heck of a lot of fun!
See you tomorrow
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