Sunday, October 08, 2006

Airwaves Win Two

Congrats to Digital on a 5-0 win over Jupiter Images. Don’t have details on who scored, but Bill let me know they played a great game.

Analog played its toughest game of the season. We entered the game 6-0. Our opponents, the Nomads, also came in 6-0 and our respective teams were tied for first place.

A few thoughts…

Yes, first and foremost this is rec league. My assumption is all of the players on both teams have played in bigger, more meaningful games in their youth… but on a fall Sunday afternoon, at our ages and places in life, this was the big game and the players on both sides approached it that way.

One thing that was pretty clear from the start, our opponents have a couple of players who just won’t stop whining… it started a minute into the game and continued till the end. And one of those players, was just a complete tool the entire game. In honor of former teammate Beth Krug who coined the term… he was what she would call a “wamper” and in fact, let’s refer to him as Wamper for the rest of this post.

I was offsides early on. I knew it and would have been fine if the ref called it. But the he missed it and so, Wamper wamps to the ref and he wamps about me… hanging by the last defender all game, he just won’t let it go even minutes later as the ref points out to their team. Later, he gets called for offisides and continues to wamp at the top of his lungs, even though some of his teammates agreed with the ref.

I had a couple of good chances in the first half, but rushed the shots. Mid way through the half, DJ gets the ball in the middle… I break outside left… he looks my way, then shoots and puts it in the left corner. Wamper starts wamping about how what we just did sucked. Nice. Just a few weeks ago, when they were playing Digital, he was in rare form, screaming to the ref to call an illegal pass back to the goalie… only the goalie didn’t pick up the ball, she kicked it. That’s not illegal when you’re six… or when you’re an adult. So the whole wamping thing is pretty much his standard approach.

The game was intense to say the least. Hard fouls… lots of pushing. But good passing and defense too. The ref at one point says to me that this is the best 7v7 game he’s ever seen. And the tempers and whining really started kicking in... and to be fair… on both sides. At one point, another one of their players was about to send the ball… and I challenged sticking my leg out to block a pass. He kicks my shin, dings up his foot, then starts complaining to the ref… who points out that there was noting illegal about that.

We’re ahead 1-0 at half, but they come out strong in the second and had a couple of good early chances.

Later, there was a great sequence when we get the ball on the left side… and I drop as close to their goalie as I can. Jimmy makes a great throw, and they start screaming for offsides. There is no offsides on a throw in. Not for six year olds, not for adults. But this is par for the day.

Now don’t get me wrong… there were some class acts on their team. After I took a pretty hard foul, a couple of them rushed over to make sure I was okay. But Wamper just kept running his mouth…

So with less than ten minutes to go, they were working so hard to tie it up and had a few solid chances, but at some point, I got a breakaway on the left side… cut it right and blasted the ball home from point blank (another $25 from P&W Builders to Pekin Pride soccer, BTW). And all the emotion built up over the course of the game came out as I screamed with elation. I’ll admit it definitely wasn’t the most sportsmanlike of reactions, but at that point I had heard and had enough. This is something I struggle with though... as a coach I work hard to discourage this attitude, but as a player, there's only so much I can stomach and the competitiveness just takes over. I had taken his garbage the whole game and Wamper was going to know who slammed the door shut.

Of course on my way back to our side of the field, he started mocking me, which was fine. I wrote a few weeks ago about the five year old telling my son how “he’s a loser” and how “he sucks” after he scored a goal. My theory is Wamper is what happens when kids like that grow up and keep playing. Whatever.

So in the end, Analog celebrated a hard fought, 2-0 win. We improve to 7-0 with one game to go.
I’m pretty beat up tonight, but it really does hurt less when you win.

1 comment:

jwike said...

SO we are up to "Wamper" and "Rulebook". Any other great names?