My soccer problems

Soccer doesn't understand me, either.

Soccer doesn’t understand me, either.

After the 2014 World Cup, I had a conversation with a friend’s cousin about my difficulty in getting into Premier League. No one played soccer in my neighborhood. My cousin had a sun weathered soccer ball but I don’t recall ever playing with it. We had live boxing, football, baseball and tape-delayed NBA on television. In 1982 I had an L.A. Lazers (pro indoor soccer) sticker that made it quickly to the trash can. With the influx of El Salvadorians and Nicaraguans  in the 80s I started seeing more people kick that chess ball around in the parks. Hell, I even played one game of rugby in P.E. and watched a few water polo games but there was zero soccer on my radar.

My interest in finding a team was so that I could understand the game better then disseminate the info to my boy who has been fascinated by the game since he was a toddler. Whereas I have caught a few games since that 2014 conversation, I still have not followed dude’s advice to just pick a team and follow them forever. I can’t do that. Now, I know why.

Is this game between the Wankleberry Samsungs and the Nottingham Nuttsacks? I have no idea who these hopping hooligans are.

In major American sports (baseball, basketball, football) you have obvious logo branding. I don’t follow the WNBA at all but as soon as I saw a jersey with the Statue of Liberty, I knew the team was the New York Liberty. Premier has seals. I can’t see those tiny ass emblems. I do see Emirates and a gang of race car style advertising. The only thing personal that is prominent is the name of the player. That’s great if you identify with the player but you have to follow the tradition of the team if there is no recognizable style. Yeah, they have there own color scheme and some have slight design flourishes but I really only immediately recognize Arsenal. And I recognize them more for the Puma logos. The NBA has been looking into going that road. I’ll probably watch less if they do. All that human billboard stuff bugs me. In world cup, Brazil was Brazil. US was US. “Eat at Joe’s” doesn’t inspire my sports loyalty.

Little Arsenal

Little Arsenal dragon Puma. Why do they discontinue the shoes I like?

I’m not an Anglophile. Unlike Americans who knees turn to jelly when they hear some limey accent my first thought is “where did this dude park his pirate ship?” I’ve never been to Utah but I know the Jazz. When I first started watching basketball they were the New Orleans Jazz. They changed states and I could still follow or be aware of the team. Super Sonics to the Robber Barrons… I mean the Thunder. I don’t identify with Manchester, Swansea, Ham-Ville-Shire, whatever. To my knowledge, Arsenal is not a municipality. If they moved to Lichtenstein, they could still be Arsenal. Chelsea would have to move to lower Manhattan to maintain the geography/name balance. Chelsea could be a crappy town. I don’t know. They have their traditions but I need to pick a team like a baby. “I live in Los Angeles so I like the former Minneapolis Lakers“. “I hate that Leprechaun so I want every team to stomp the Celtics.” Soccer doesn’t make it easy for me.

The Flash ready to clash

The Flash ready to clash through the 1031 casbah

Some of the jerseys have collars. Hell no. Helllll no. What’s next, bow ties and beanies? That at least allows me to eliminate teams (though I could be confusing them with a MLS team).

I hate all that damn singing/chanting. I can still watch a game despite all of that drunken pirate shit. Hell, I hate the loud ass disco of NBA games so I realize they won’t cater to me. However, I respect that people all over the world are intensely moved by the game and the atmosphere. Listening to the Men in Blazers podcast about a year before Men’s World Cup prepped me for watching World Cup.

The best thing about soccer for me is the newness. There are still huge craters in my understanding and I have trouble watching anything televised now. Last year before the season, I was thinking I was going to pick up Chelsea but they wound up winning the title and I don’t like being a front-runner aside from my Lakers legacy. I guess they are sucking this season so it would be a good time to jump on board in terms of bucking the front runner trend but bad in all other things. I saw a bumble bee team last week, Watford maybe. Prior to that I was considering giving Leicester City a try. One of the Manchesters is powder blue and that won’t do. If anyone has a club to endorse, let me know. For now, I’ll stick with my son’s fall AYSO team, the Flash. Premier League will be ready for me when I’m ready for them.

How did this get so long? Procrastination.

Change the style

soccer-jenika-arion-6139

You’re going to have to work the post because you didn’t work the production.

Last year during Men’s World Cup, I started on working on building my book so that I could make a play towards the Rio Olympics. I laid out this plan of action to cash in on some favors, shoot some pro athletes, upcomers, etc. What happens? I stay injured. 3 broken fingers, achilles, tears here there and everywhere. That slowed my extra shooting down to a crawl. In the interim, I see people whose work I really admire ramping up now for all the gigs that I planned to compete.

I rarely stretch. My son is looking at me. He tells me, “Dad, you’re injured all the time. I’m going to stretch everyday like you’ve been telling me.” About time, little mofo. I’m looking at another week on the DL before I dust off the ligaments, tendons, and flabby brain. I’m going to force myself to take baby steps instead of doing 2 a days. Sure I will. I’ll actually do it right this time. Sure I will.

Last week I set up a test shoot, with models from a sports agency. I debated on the time which was a double-edge sword decision. I knew if I set it too early, my mobility might be compromised but the traffic would be less. I chose the opposite which yielded 2 of the 3 models being late as they were thoroughly caught in the flood of traffic and one food-poison afflicted no-show. (She emailed and called early. Nothing bad I can say about that). Starting later, meant a higher sun and less energy as I waited for people to show. The ladies were good but I didn’t have full command of the cameras as I was fighting the pain. I had exceeded my rations for standing for too long. So, I got adequate and adequate is anathema to me right now. But, I did need to get into a groove. Like I said, I’m going to give myself another week, then test the wheels out again while sticking closer to my new sketches. I’m looking for a stylistic breakthrough and I’m not feeling like it’s going to come through improvisation.

I guess I’m going to have to keep on shooting if I’m going to get there. I wonder if I can stretch vicariously through my son.

Don’t you want to be the man?

You see the athletes flying through your television, actors transforming into other persona, some cat winning the nobel prize for inventing the transmorphographicisotopicthangamajang and you get a charge, don’t you? It takes a special mind and focus to maximize your talents. Recognition must be cool but nothing can compare to mastery and knowing the ego bump that comes with it.

Talking to some of my college peers, it was interesting to hear where they deviated from their original aspirations. Graduated or not, got the spouse, the chilluns, the tax return, the time for unencumbered notions disappates. Operations become boxed by necessity.   No need for apologies because of unreturned calls. Time is a mofo.

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Battles withour honor or humanity

My boy and I were discussing our basketball game, adults vs parents, where 2 seven year olds and him faced 2 mid 40s and 1 close to 30. The important thing is that the kids one because I defected to their squad and I am awesome even with no knees. Well, ok, the truly important thing in conversation was that the seven year old was better than every kid on the court that migrated to the game up to the 11 year old. That kid practices with older kids but is too young to play in the games. What’s the moral in me bringing this up, youngster, I asked: Son says, “Playing players who are better than you boosts your game”.

Everyone needs to have some fun. So be it. And I’m not talking some Todd Marinovich thing were you’re bred and reared to do nothing but dominate your sport. But I asking him, “don’t you want to be the man?” He says he does in soccer. I’m cool with that. The boy can really focus when he wants to do so. But when I ask him these things many tmes I’m asking myself also.

Don’t you want to be the man?

I enjoy making things. I still do.

The fangs of survival endeavor to squelch that memory. But when it comes down past all the nonsense and the noise, the core is what I can build from my own imagination. And I’m not a master at anything. Why is that? Lack of talent? Lack of drive? You do what you want. You actions are the truth. Talking to that boy is talking to myself. Don’t you want to be the man? Show me.