Casual Skills: apartment soccer

Posted on January 23, 2008

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My efforts at mastering the beautiful game, much like my actual liking of it, have been late-blooming. As a red-blooded American male one of the character traits I was bred to have (aside from a belief in American exceptionalism and an love of movie gun violence) is a piping-hot case of the Soccer Hates.

Now that the World Cup has effectively demolished that, I’m left with a dilemma much larger than explaining to my friends why I no longer believe those awful things I said about soccer before. And that is this: how do I learn not only to play(at the age of 25) a sport I last played when I was in second grade, but also play it well enough to accomplish a ludicrous, “Rudy”- esque goal: playing semi-professional soccer.

The first step was actually getting a feel for the ball at my feet. My helplessness in this was undeniable: in the past whenever someone passed me a ball in a foot-related way, I reacted with a kicking motion reminiscent of an aquarium seal, in both motion and grace. So I purchased a ball and began teaching myself to juggle it in my apartment. After numerous hours crashing the ball off of my DVD’s and CD’s and generally making such a racket that I’m certain the people below me think I’m practicing for a conga line, I’m at the point now where I can get the ball off the floor and kick it around for a good long while. With that skill in hand, I can safely move on to the next one: dribbling. I won’t stop until I’m the next Diego Maradona. Which reminds me, I’m hungry.

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