Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

October 12, 2006


by @ 12:39 pm.
Filed under Major League Soccer, Stream Of Consciousness

scha·den·freu·de (shäd’n-froi’də)

n. Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. [German : Schaden, damage (from Middle High German schade, from Old High German scado) + Freude, joy (from Middle High German vreude, from Old High German frewida, from frô, happy).]


Can it even get any better than beating the dirty dirty Galaxy on a beautiful late-summer evening at Pizza Hut Park?


Only if beating the dirty dirty Galaxy on a beautiful late-summer evening at Pizza Hut Park also serves to knock them out of the playoffs. For the first time. Ever.


(Memo to Mr. Loney: Sorry, I know it’s childish and petty to draw joy from the misfortunes of others)


So anyway, my traveling companion for this road trip was my youngest daughter Hannah, who, I think, enjoys the spectacle of a soccer game more than the soccer. Hanging out with the Inferno, a group whose sole purpose making noise and yelling insults makes her face light up like Christmas morn.


She’s a good girl that way.


We made record time on the trip south, if only because every single soul in both Oklahoma and Texas was indoors watching the other football game of the day, law-enforcement officials included, apparently. Being a transplanted Okie, and being married to one of those few but precious Okies who doesn’t worship the University of Oklahoma, I was emotionally unattached to the results of the OU/Texas game. I do enjoy the whole “wailing and gnashing of teeth” aspect to the aftermath, however, no matter which side loses. For Cid and me, every Red River Shootout is a win-win proposition.

Kind of like if the Galaxy and Fire had somehow both lost the Open Cup Final a few weeks ago. But I digress.


Speaking of the Inferno, they were in fine voice to be sure, with a good number of first timers hanging out and adding to the atmosphere. And by ‘atmosphere’, I mean of course, screaming horrible things about Kevin Hartman’s ancestors.


It was a great crowd overall, as a matter of fact. Nearly 20,000, though it’s hard to tell at PHP how many are actually in attendance, because the sight lines are so good people go to the concessions all through the match, knowing they’ll still be able to see the game. It’s great for the fans, but doesn’t look as impressive on television. I’m okay with that, though.


Shaka Hislop was in goal for the still injured Dario Sala. Dario, in case you hadn’t heard, made his radio commentator debut for the Spanish-language radio broadcast of the game. I think the broadcast is archived on, so I may have to shell out the $4.95 just to listen to the man’s work. He dropped by the post-game tailgate to say hello to everyone, and when asked, he seemed a shade embarrassed by the whole radio thing. have a feeling he did well though. He knows the game and the players inside out, of course, and he’s also a natural born storyteller.


Okay, I just convinced myself to spend the five bucks. I know just enough Spanish so that I’m sure to be entertained. And besides, you know, it’s history.


Shaka had a good game, only giving up one goal, which to be fair, resulted in one of the finest long passes I’ve ever seen. Chris Albright hit the ball, thirty yards if it was an inch, right to Landon’s foot, 10 yards from goal. The shot itself wasn’t powerful, but did have the advantage of deflecting off Bobby Rhine’s foot, wrong-footing Shaka. Apart from that, he wasn’t seriously challenged, much like the RSL game the other week. He’s probably the only goalkeeper in the nation who’s more afraid of Columbus than Los Angeles. Funny game, innit?


Our goals were beautiful. The first was a killer free kick from Richard Mulrooney, pinpoint accuracy right to the head of Carlos, who headed across Hartman’s body to the far post. Lovely goal, and right in front of the Inferno, to boot.


The second was beautiful for two reasons. First was the goal itself, made by Ronnie O’Brien’s cross to a neat little volley from Kenny Cooper. Sublime.


Even better though was Hartman’s reaction, which I caught early Sunday morning via the miracle of Tivo. Kevin freaked. The boy just freaked. It was a screaming, red-faced, spittle-flying freakout. One couldn’t hear what he was screaming of course, but if my lip-reading serves me well, he seemed to be saying:




Or something to that effect.


After that it was all over but Katie shouting while she barred the door.


After the game, the players unfurled a big banner reading “Thank You FC Dallas Fans”, which I thought was a nice touch. Bobby Rhine, the first player in MLS history to have his own Posse, came over to the Inferno, which he never fails to do on big occasions like this, to say thanks, chat, and sign interminable autographs with good humor and grace. Hannah was shy, so she made me ask him to sign her shirt. But she wasn’t too shy to say the cutest and most sincere “Thank You!” I’ve ever heard her say. Such a little thing meant so much to her. It was one of those Hallmark moments, that, if it had happened on a commercial, would’ve made me nauseous. But in real-life, it was pretty cool.


I can’t say it enough times, but Bobby Rhine is the platonic ideal of a classy athlete. I’ve found that FC Dallas as a whole is made up of class individuals, but Bobby is at the top of the class.


One young fan actually asked him if he’d give up his boots as a souvenir. Bobby answered, in all sincerity, that he couldn’t, because the boots he was wearing were undefeated, and as we all know, you gotta respect a streak. That was a great answer and it made me like him even more; the thing is, though, that if those boots hadn’t been on a roll, I’ve no doubt he’d have taken them off right then and there and let the kid have them. He’s good people.


Man, what a good night.


See you next week for the regular season finale against . . . oh, look, it’s against the Galaxy! I guess they’ll be taking the game really seriously, trying to get tuned up for the playoffs . . . . . oh wait . . . .


(snicker, snicker, snort, chortle . . . )



See you then.


  1. scaryice Says:

    Hey, I sent you an email about the BASA’s a couple days ago. Just wanted to remind you that the ballot is due before the first playoff game on Saturday. Thanks.

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