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A Game of Soccer or, Getting Drunk and Yelling at the Gringo

In the "Cult of Escapism": A Game of Soccer or, Getting Drunk and Yelling at the Gringo

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Game of Soccer or, Getting Drunk and Yelling at the Gringo

My fan base is small, fiercely loyal and highly intoxicated. If I’m touching the ball, near the ball, or nowhere near the ball but they feel like I should be, they’re shouting. “Give it to the gringo!” “The gringo’s gonna score!” or simply, “GRINGOOO!!!” These are my diehard, poster-on-the-wall fans. Other fans consist of, well, everyone else.
Let me clarify something before I continue: I’m a terrible soccer player. I’m athletic and fast, which makes me better than at least a few guys, but the last time I played competitive soccer was fourth grade. And I was bad then too. But here I made a team and instantly became the most popular player because of pure, unparalleled novelty value.
I can safely say I’m unique – I’m the only white male in the district. So I can see the appeal: imagine you’re a local - you watch four or five games every Sunday, which are entertaining but similar; then suddenly a young, hairy white guy jogs on to the field, a head taller than anyone, with borrowed cleats that are three sizes too small and no shin guards. I can see how that could be wildly entertaining – especially after five or six beers.
Everyone cheers for me when I have the ball, even fans of the opposing team, the intoxicated just cheer louder and more incoherently. Even a mundane play like, receive a pass, or dribble up some open field and pass it away, receives near hysterical ovation. Anything significant - like a shot on goal, a breakaway, or even a steal - is tear-inducing and hernia-creating. Ok, not quite but I did steal a ball once and distinctly heard a female fan yell, “My love! My love!” If only it were always that easy.
But again, I’m not good and I’m a little concerned fans will actually start paying attention to what I’m doing and realize my extreme limitations. Specifically, my soccer game involves only three actions: 1 – Running fast; 2 – Passing as soon as I get the ball; and 3 – Playing rough, dirty defense. I don’t really choose to do only one of three things, it’s more processs of elimination: I can´t dribble, shoot, or pass very well. So I run fast, try to get open and when I get the ball, I promptly pass it, usually to a member of the other team. This forces me to run after them and manhandle the ball away. I generally fail at that too but at least I look tough in the process. Oh yeah, I also have poor stamina.
Given these limitations, I choose to play striker, or right wing, or whaterver it’s called (clearly Im a huge soccer fan) so that I can use my speed and not be directly responsible for goals score against us. Maybe not the best logic but there it is. It’s also good for the fans because my sole purpose is to score goals. If this ever happens, there will probably be several heart attaks and a least six or seven marriage proposals.
But given that I screwed up two solid opportunities last game (a corner kick right to my head, which I hit straight up, instead of at the goal; and the ball landing in fornt of me amid a clusterfuck of people ten feet from the goal – I all but missed the ball and sent it spinning off my toe) and that I only play one half (mercifully, otherwise I’ll tire out and people will catch on to my ineptitude), I doubt I’ll ever score.
But I’ll try and at the very least entertain a few dozen peole for 45 minutes. The more beers they have the better.


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