Last night my soccer team got absolutely destroyed, 8-0. That’s a total bloodbath by normal soccer standards. Then when you factor in a few things–the game was only an hour, compared to 90 minutes, it’s a small field with small goals–the pungency of the defeat is just that much worse.
Before I get into this, I’d like to wax poetic about running up the scoreboard a bit. There are definitely circumstances in which running up the scoreboard is acceptable, if not encouraged, especially when the two teams involved have a history together. Say, for example, Team A loses to Team B in a big play-off game. Team B deliberately injured the star player of Team A in the process, and got some crappy calls in their favor as well. As far as I’m concerned, Team A would have every reason, if the opportunity presented itself, to run up the scoreboard against Team B in their next meeting.
But that was not the case last night. We didn’t know these guys, we had never played them before, and I am not certain at all as to why they were so content to just pound us over and over again. After taking a licking like that, there’s only a few things that you can do. And in thinking that most of us who have ever competed in sports have at some point not only lost, but have lost in a really embarrassing way, I thought I’d share them with you.
So after the game, about 60%, maybe 65% at best, didn’t really care that much, which is relatively healthy option A for what to do after an immense beatdown. I got into this soccer league predominantly for 3 things. First off, the exercise. Despite losing, I still got some good exercise in. Secondly, I do it for the fun of playing soccer. Soccer is a fun game to play on a competitive level, so the outcome is secondary to the enjoyment of the game itself. And thirdly, I do it for the camaraderie. I like the guys on my team and enjoy hanging out and playing ball with them. As such, since all those were met, most of me wasn’t that bothered.
However, there was about 40% of me that felt really stupid for being pwned like we were. I mean, it was almost like their team was filled with actual humans, and we were just plastic figures on a foosball table, whose only real functionality was to spin around like 30 times to try and hit the ball really hard with our plastic legs literally molded together.
That lingering 40% needed some sort of redemption, and on the sidelines afterwards, it was easy to nurture that along with my teammates. After the game we first sat around and commented that yes in deed, those guys were pretty damn good. Then we talked about our strategy: maybe our formation should change, and we should play a game that is more oriented around the midfield.
Finally, however, we started to do what we all wanted to do, which is by default Option B in what to do after getting demolished. We started making fun of the other team. Yes, they annihilated us in soccer, but we were all eager to conclude that they were also a big group of jerks. They had like 20 subs and were sending guys in and out throughout the entire game, and so the dudes were going into every play, HARD. To give you an example, with about 10 minutes left, when they were up 6-0, we had an offensive opportunity. I made a run to the outside post, and the guy defended me basically bear-hugged me to try and take me down and prevent me from trying to score, like we were playing American football and not “football” as in “the world’s greatest game.” Even in American football that would have been pass interference and the flag would have been thrown. This, coming from a team that is making their opponents (us) look like their feet are glued to the floor, is just totally unnecessary. Do you really need to beat up on us that bad that you gotta go the extra mile to draw fouls late in the game that get you a yellow card? Also, when they were up about 5-0, a guy on their team made a mistake and the whole team crucified him verbally for his bad pass. Let’s forget the fact that we didn’t steal the ball or anything, and the mistake was totally harmless, these dudes were so intense in their game that they were cursing each other out for mistakes.
So obviously, us “nice guys” who were sitting there and looking for caves to climb into and hide, were quick to point out how incredibly and un-healthily intense these guys were. Which opened the floodgate of criticism in the same way that they opened the floodgates of scoring on us 8 times in an hour. One of our guys commented that he was totally fine with us losing that badly, mostly because it was obvious that running up the scoreboard was the sole form of satisfaction in life that these other guys get, and with their pointless and pathetic lives we’re actually helping them out. I pointed out that one of the guys, a short redhead who was by far the most intense, was clearly trying to deal with his Napoleon complex through this soccer league, called “Sports for Good,” which seemed pretty obviously created so people could go out and have fun, and not be a bunch of dicks. In the post-game debrief, I carefully crafted a great mental picture of these guys practicing soccer in front of a huge mirror so that they can watch how sweet they look while passing the ball around. I’m sure if I had paid more attention during I could have detected some unpleasant body odors to critique, upon research I could have found their significant others and then comment on how ugly they are, and if I was lucky one of them might have a lazy eye I didn’t pick up on.
In other words, we did what we had to: we went for the moral victory. And I think that’s what you gotta do when you get your ass handed to you in a friendly soccer league. If the other team goes out of their way to remove the adjective “friendly” from the league, then they can run up the score all they want. Because in the longterm, their angry bad karma is gonna come back and bite them hard with large accumulations of parking tickets, small tax refunds, and long lines in the grocery store.
P.S. You may have noticed that I’ve been quite sassy in the last few posts. This is for several reasons, most notably the fact that the week-long Easter break that starts in 8 days just can’t get here soon enough. I need vacation and I need it badly. Once that happens, I should go back to being the more light-hearted guy I am, but in the interim the few posts you’ll get out of me will come with some picante salsa.