Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

September 14, 2006


by @ 10:16 am.
Filed under Major League Soccer, Stream Of Consciousness

It is in no man’s power to have whatever he wants; but he has it in his power not to wish for what he hasn’t got, and cheerfully make the most of the things that come his way.

– Seneca the Younger

Good ol’ Seneca was one of the great Stoic philosophers. He was a tutor to the Emperor Nero, and, in Nero’s younger days, a steadying influence. Later of course, Nero went mad and sentenced poor Seneca to death. Death by suicide, at that; he was forced to drink poison. So, like most of the Stoics, he had a good sense of how suffering is a normal part of life, to be accepted. Not sought out, mind you, but accepted as a normal circumstance, brought about by either fortune or providence (neither of which you can really argue with). He was one of the great men of his day.

He was, apparently, also an FC Dallas fan.

Because let’s face it, one’s team is like one’s family – you just have to accept them as they are and hope for the best from them, right?

Seneca’s words kind of sum up this mid-week match with Chivas. If I could have anything I want, I would have chosen, first off, to have Thursday off work, so that the six-hour round trip wouldn’t seem as onerous. Second, I’d have gotten on the road earlier, so to have enjoyed a little more time visiting with the Infernites over at Poppy’s in Frisco Square (highly recommended in DJ’s Guide To Great Frisco Restaurants).

But most of all, I’d have had the boys reel off about three or four goals and sweep Chivas under the rug like so much schmutz on the kitchen floor.

But none of these things happened, so I am left to “cheerfully make the most of the things that come . . . [my] way”.

Is that such a bad thing? No.

Lil’ John and I met up with Daniel in Norman and headed south in plenty of time to make kickoff. John and Daniel talked about college football for way too much of the trip, in my opinion, of course. But, truth be told, listening to John talk about college football is pretty entertaining. It’s exactly how I imagine Lee Corso’s parents must have gone through when he was growing up. Seriously, the boy is ready for a gig in sports radio right now, and he’s only 10.

Of course, the only team he’ll talk about is Notre Dame; all other teams get a dismissive snort and a recounting of their latest failures. Daniel, of course, is a die hard Sooners fan, so he enjoyed the repartee/verbal combat. It was like riding to the game in the break room at ESPN, to be honest.


The weather was absolutely ideal for soccer. Cool and getting cooler as the night went on. So much so that I finally got to wear my long sleeve hoops jersey; opportunities like that don’t come up very often during soccer season in Big D, and I loves that jersey (sometimes the simple pleasures are the only real pleasures, aren’t they?).

As for the game itself, well, it was a strange one. Chivas’s one and only goal came on, from what I could tell, was their one and only shot on goal for the evening. Really. Dario Salas biggest threat wasn’t Ante Razov, it was ennui. I hate it when that happens. They had nothing going offensively all night, and end up winning 1-0.

I thought the boys played stellarly (is that a word?) in the midfield, and solidly on defense (the lone, freakish, goal notwithstanding). But it seemed anytime they got within 20 yards of the Chivas goal they started to sputter and wheeze like a Ford Pinto with sugar in the tank. Clearly Colin Clarke’s strategy was to get the ball to the wing (preferably the right wing) and pepper Brad Guzan with dangerous crosses all night. But for the “dangerous” part, the boys did just that.

Cross after cross, but none very threatening. Dominic Oduro came on late and jump started the attack in a big way. He had a dangerous opportunity within seconds of  entering the game. That lead to a flurry of attack, and the one really good shot of the night – a header actually, by Carlos Ruiz. People, believe me when I say that ball should have gone in. 10 yards out, struck solidly, moving to Guzan’s right. It should’ve been 1-all.

Nope. Brad Guzan’s parents didn’t raise him to be a thief, but the boy sure robbed Carlos on that one. If that’s not the save of the year thus far, I don’t know what is. If you didn’t get to see the game, see if you can find the clip on It was unreal how good that save was. I think Guzan has spot on the National Team goalkeeping depth chart in his future; in this keeper-rich country that’s high praise.

So, yeah, we lost one-nil, and I have to work in the morning. But on a beautiful night, in a free country, among family and great friends, I think I can cheerfully accept that result. I’m not much a stoic, but in this case, I’ll take Seneca’s advice and just decide to be happy.

See you next week for FC Tabernacle Choir.

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