It is easy to think that he’s been fortunate, that he was overrated, that he’s had a privileged life that anyone would be happy to swap theirs with. It is easy to forget that for three and a half years he received death threats, that there were dart boards with his face throughout the country, that there were burning effigies of him in the streets. The ordinary human being does not recover from that.
It is easy to say that he was only good at delivering the long ball, but watch him play those crosses. He almost always had acres of space around him to do it in. Why would opponents who knew he was only good at the one thing give him so much space to make that play? They didn’t give him anything: he took it from them.
A piece of flash fiction I wrote, which comes to about seven hundred words with an introduction. It demonstrates something that’s lost if the Canadian Soccer Association focuses exclusively on player development (as opposed to balancing that with building a local soccer culture) when designing the structure of the third tier of soccer in Canada.
The weather has been crazy these last few weeks. We’ve found ourselves running into the wind, weighed down by soaked garments clinging to our bodies, afraid to stop and let the freezing sensation spread beyond our fingers and toes. We’ve found ourselves waiting inside, mid-practice, for lightning to pass so we could safely resume. Freezing rain, hail, snow … after one practice, I even found that ice had formed on my pants.
Obviously, a part of me doesn’t like training in these conditions, but that is so much smaller than the part of me that absolutely loves it. Sure, every time we go out in weather like this, I can’t help but think there’s a chance that one of the other teams has cancelled their practice, and that we might be gaining the slightest of edges on them. But more importantly, the romantic inside me finds the scene picturesque: a bunch of human beings working together, so lost in the chasing and yelling, so focused on trying to become better than what they are, that they’re oblivious to whatever it is that’s falling out of the heavens all around them.
One day Lewandowski’s grandchildren will ask him for a story. He’ll tell them about one night when he put on a yellow shirt to fight a famous invading army, and how he kicked the shit out of them. Harder than anyone. Ever. In history.
In training today I had my ass handed to me by a 20 year old (I’m 27 …) who’s made 9 competitive appearances for the Toronto FC first team. It was a difficult experience, but that’s the kind of thing I’m here for.
Before soccer practice this morning I was joking with my bro and my roommate about how in Canada we play soccer in a fridge. I sang:
We play in a fridge
We play in a friiiidge
In $&@!ing Canada
We play in a fridge.
After practice I found that ice had formed on my pants. Even in a fridge that wouldn’t happen …
Within the last week, I trained in pouring, freezing rain and ice pellets and sunshine, I told all three teams I usually play with (two of which I was assistant captain for) that I’ll be sitting out for the season, and I confirmed my commitment to the local semi-pro team. It was hard saying goodbye to teammates and friends I’d been playing with for the last several years, and the demands of the training on my time and body have been difficult already, but the real struggle begins now. I have to prove myself in training to earn playing time, and I know it won’t be easy.
But it’s all for love right? :)
I just finished reading River of Stars. I feel like a ghost, like I’m not all here. I’m not. I’m lost, between hearts and stories … between worlds.
Give us one compelling sentence from your manuscript and we’ll pick a winner and read and critique your work. Contest deadline—Wednesday, March 13.
Thank you for giving me a reason to open up my manuscript again when it’s been a difficult thing to do. It was a chore to get through—the first 11 of the 13 chapters are wonderful examples of how not to write—but the final two chapters still make my eyes water. I remember why I wrote this now, and won’t give up just yet.