Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Footballer’s Guide to Love

Between soccer and love, parallels exist, albeit crude ones. (I must declare my fanatical soccer-playing at the outset so you know this is not an “objective” blog post.) Besides, my own observations and experience with Victoria FC provides all the evidence necessary to support such a claim.

Humor me. I daresay that love is at the center of the football game; otherwise it all makes no sense at all. Twenty-two men kicking one inflated leather ball around? Utter madness. Football’s greats have been people who loved the game enough to spend years, decades, in training. But their love for the game overcompensates for the lacking rationale. (Of course, a fat paycheck jumpstarts motivation.)

I will attempt to frame technical aspects of the game within the corresponding love scenario. Granted, I have been single for quite a while now. A reader may feel convicted to point out that I therefore do not qualify to talk of love, as though potential employers and their demands for “experience” have not already driven me up the wall. I encourage such to sit down and argue with me later in the comments section. (“You wanna step outside and talk about this one on one, like men?”)

Kidding. Here goes. *Whistle blows*

Possession: the team collectively strives to keep the ball. It is a basic winning strategy – one can not score goals without the ball. Similarly the lover must strive to “keep” the beloved at all times while protecting him/her from the concerted attempts of worthy rivals to dispossess him/her by all means, including two-footed tackles.

Passing: by spreading the ball around, possession is preserved. Naturally, every individual player dreams of stunning the crowds with a spectacular solo effort. Practically, however, a reasonable player usually sees a better positioned teammate and relinquishes the ball to him despite his own strong cravings for stardom. There’s more to any pass than cold strategy; there is also an implicit trust that the receiving player is fully capable of making a positive contribution. Besides, if you give a pass, it will come back to you sometime, right? If you love something, set it free, yes? Therefore, if you want to receive more, give more. This is love.

Finding space: Players thrive when they break free of their markers in preparation for incoming passes. You will not see a player fighting his opponent physically, overpowering him and afterwards taking the ball. That’s a direct red card. Rather, intelligent space calculations and movements are made to minimize contact with opponents and maximize possession. Each player runs into his own area of unobstructed turf as he best judges fit; consequently, teammates end up spread out. Therefore, if you are in love, just get your own space and permit your beloved as much space as they need, alright? None of that neurotic clingy-possessive business, okay? Then things will work.

Dribbling and ball control: requires skill and passion. The player understands and cooperates with the ball in order to maneuver it as he will. That is my definition of “the zone”: where ball and player are on a superior level of alertness together. Similarly with love: ideally, there is to be “one mind” between two – shared goals, basic understanding, synergy. This makes obstacles fun to overcome; passes between opponents find their targets accurately, and goals become rewarding.

Yes, I DO think too much. My unlikely parallels between soccer and relationships end there.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Steve! It's been a while since I was invited to anything.


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