Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kicking the ball looks easy, no?

And it's happening again. Football fever is gripping the country and armchair pundits across the world are disparaging the skills of the players while casually reclining their recliners and munching their favourite fried snacks and beverages.

"Arre that through pass was just too weak"
"Call that a header? Bah, my grandma could've had more power on it"
"clear the ball, Clear The Ball, CLEAR THE BALL you !@$#124"
 "Make the run, cross it to the guy with the blond hair, GOAL GOAL GOAL. See I told you!"

So the long and short of it is that the said person on the recliner is usually me. And AV sometimes comes in bleary eyed after I scream, whacks me one on the head and then disappears again.

So when I got an invitation to play a football match on Sunday morning, I was quite geared up for it. In my mind, I had already made up the position I would play at (a la Pirlo). The strategic mid-fielder who would make the crowds go ooh and ah with his perfectly weighted through passes. I was already dreaming of how my grateful teammates would pick me on their shoulders, tears in their eyes as they solemnly do a lap around the ground in front of waving flags and screaming, adoring (hopefully female) fans.

The reality, unfortunately, was a bit different.

I was able to stay upright for the 60 odd minutes we played. That's it. Nobody raised me on their shoulders. A few people were looking at me and muttering, what I want to believe, were compliments about my skills. I did see the captain surreptitiously (or not so surreptitiously) striking off a name from the list of players for the next match. I have a strong suspicion that it was that blue shirt guy's name, though you never know with captains.

And his handshake at the end of the game was decidedly final.

Ok, ok it wasn't as bad as that. We had a good game, won and everyone seemed to have a good time. There were flashes of competence and a stream of bloopers as would happen for any one who hasn't played for a while

It was good fun, playing after a while. But what I did want to say is that all the skills that look so easy on the screen are anything but. Many times I was trying to pass the ball to someone and it ended up going in a totally different direction, including a heart-stopping time when it went to the other teams main striker. Taking a header on a bounce, the ball would bounce clear over my head, or if it did touch, it was a glancing blow - much like Gerrard's that helped Suarez (Chikki bhaiyya - who taught us quite a bit of soccer and had us run header drills would have been appalled with some of the headers). Even the clearance kicks which look so easy were dropping weakly 6-7 yards away - and usually to the wrong team.

So, to conclude this meandering post - you would perhaps have felt that there is no real conclusion in this post -

"Screaming at screen - easy
Playing football well  - not that easy

Playing football - fun!

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