Because science into life doesn't go

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sub Bitch

So, the study grant came through. Being loyal to my geek roots, rather than blowing the cash on perennial student favourites like beer and drugs, I took out a few magazine subscriptions.

The chosen titles should allow me to:

a) feel smug about supporting the arts,

b) never be short of conversation for dinner parties, and,

c) provide me with plenty of material to rip off and crowbar into my own fiction.

I still have a little money left in the kitty, which I will put into my Nintendo Wii fund.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Beautiful Game

I made it....eventually.

Sunday's second trial led to a pool of fifty or so players who would make up the three squads. So, it was back on Tues evening for the third and final round of trials, where everyone would be assigned into either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd teams. We began with fitness again, where my unfit bastard credentials were plain to see. I can manage running at a constant pace fine. It's when phases of sprinting and jogging are mixed that I have problems. Since football is all about intense periods of activity followed by recovery, this is worrying.

Next came two rounds of squat thrusts, press-ups, sit-ups, and something else. I say something else, because the lack of discipline in the excercises meant you could do pretty much whatever you liked, as long as you made it from one side of the area to the other. Some people were practically jogging across, bending their knees as a replacement for the excercises. Pointless. I tried to do it properly, but quickly started cheating so I wasn't singled out as the slow one. I can't believe how weak my arms are.

Things got better after that. We did some ball skills work--mini-dribbles from left foot to right, dragging the ball across the body, control-turn-pass etc--and then played keepy in teams of three in a 15sq. metre area. After that was an 11-a-side game on half a pitch. I'm not sure what the coaches could tell from that as it was so congested, but I think they'd made up their minds by then. I was told to go inside. This turned out to be a good thing as the pool of players inside made up the 1st and 2nd teams. I was through!

But the evening hadn't finished....the muscles had relaxed, the stiffness had begun, but we had to go back out and play a match! It was here I found out I'd made the 2nd team in my preferred CM position. Then we played. It was so exhilarating. Our keeper, Dimitri, had strict instructions to throw or pass the ball out to the full-backs as much as possible. Only full-backs with sufficient touch, composure, and movement, can handle this kind of responsibility. It's certainly not easy, but Kev and Kenji excelled, and for the first time in many years I was part of a game played the way football is meant to be played. Pass, move, pass, move. A good team is like a smoothly functioning piece of machinery. Every player must perform certain actions according to the state of the game. For example, when the full-back collects the ball, the centre backs must be available for a pass backwards, and a central midfielder must be available for a pass inside. You need to be constantly alert and moving--which is why fitness is critical to success. Good teams move the ball around so quickly that it can be a frustrating and tiring experience for the other side...but when your team has possession it's a beautiful thing.

And if you can cap a intricate passing move with a goal there's no better feeling. We didn't manage that, but we did get a goal from a corner--a near-post header by yours truly! We beat the 1st team 1-0!

They got their revenge pretty quick. The next day we played a full ninety minute game, and they won 4-2. By the end, they were running rampant--a combination of better shape, sharpness, and fitness giving them a significant edge.

Anyway, apart from shredded feet from wearing new boots, I'm enjoying every minute.