Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

March 20, 2007


by @ 8:39 pm.
Filed under Stream Of Consciousness

Wow, only a 30 minute drive to see an FC Dallas match! This must be what it’s like to live in Plano.

John Crain Field at the OU Soccer complex is a really nice soccer facility. Small, but not the least bit shabby, like, say, the hole they played the Saturn Cup at last year. I don’t get to Norman much, despite living so close, but since I couldn’t possibly care less about OU athletics, there’s no call for me to make the trip. Unless I get a sudden urge to play slots or something, in which case, just try to keep me away.

The kid who did the player introductions may have started a new tradition for the Inferno when he introduced Shaka Hislop as “shuKAH HE-slop”. The rest of the evening whenever he touched the ball we couldn’t help but scream “ShuKAH!” in a very high-pitched, macaw-like manner. It never got old, even after the 10 millionth time.

The kid also pronounced Chicago’s coach as Dave suh-RACK-in; don’t think I’m EVER going to get sick of screaming that at Brimstone matches.

The Inferno was strategically placed directly behind the Chicago bench, so that not one gratuitous insult or razor-sharp taunt was misplaced. I imagine a lot of those guys will have serious emotional scarring from the experience. My personal favorite of the night: When Caleb Carr subbed on, somebody yelled “Girl goals count double!”

Come on . . . that’s not bad for pre-season.

I went over at halftime to give a fair amount of grief to Oklahoma’s only Fire fan, Mike Segroves. Many of you know and love Mike from his fine work on BigSoccer, so it won’t surprise you to learn that while I was giving him grief, his cellphone rang, and it was Miss Charlie Helms calling all the way from Dallas to give the man grief as well.

Because we’re all about the love, that’s why.

So the first half was interesting in that we witnessed somewhat of a “lightbulb” moment for the boys. For 20 minutes they played extremely tentative soccer. Not pretty at all. Then, as they say, the lightbulb came on, and all the sudden, they remembered how to play. It was a different game after that. A good game, and an entertaining game; in the second half, as a matter of fact, not unlike an indoor game (volume of goals-wise).

I’ll leave the blow-by-blow descriptions to actual journalists (like Gina), but I will take a moment to attempt to do justice to Dominic Oduro’s winner in the 83rd minute.

Did you ever see the Roadrunner cartoons? You know when the Coyote is chasing him, keeping up with him stride-for-stride, just about to catch him, and then the Roadrunner goes “beepbeep” and leaves him in the dust?

Yeah, it was like that.

Dominic picked up the ball on his own side of the field, right at the circle, and blew by his two defenders with a burst of speed not seen in Norman since the days of Joe Washington. I half-expected to hear Keith Jackson saying “Whoa Nelly, look at that man fly . . .”

It gave one hope.

Now, I’d be remiss as a journalist (if I was a journalist, that is) if I didn’t address Shaka’s night. He had a bad night. His heart and mind were in the game, but his legs took the night off. He’s hurting. You can see it plainly in the way he moves, and in his just-not-quite-quick-enough reaction time on shots. I don’t know if he’s carrying an injury, or if it’s just that no-good S.O.B. Father Time wailin’ on the man’s knees. But he’s not at his best right now.

Which is fine. It’s pre-season. He’ll either get up to speed or not. He’s a professional, and a man; he knows what he has to do. What I didn’t care for was the vitriol spewed his way by my beloved fellow Infernites.

He’s our guy – support him.

The only time it is ever acceptable to go negative on your own players is if they’re not giving it their very best effort.

It sure as hell isn’t going to help his game to hear his own fans ragging on him, is it? And don’t tell me that shouldn’t matter, because you know it does. Our support makes them play better sometimes, doesn’t it? Well what do you think our negativity does?

‘Nuff said? Okay – I don’t want to have to have this conversation again. Now go to your room and think about what you’ve done . . .

Anyway, it was one of the great FC Dallas experiences I’ve had, even for a pre-season game. A good sized Inferno contingent, a killer tailgate, some kids from OU who adopted us (or vice-versa, I’m not sure) for the evening, and a victory over the Fahr.

And, Cid swiped the “FC Dallas Locker Room” sign, with the help of Bobby Rhine.

Don’t get much better than that, kids.

Opening Day draweth nigh. See you then.

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