i never thought i would use this expression, but my legs are shredded. in the past 8 days i have payed more futball/football/soccer than i have in my previous 32 (or is it 31?) years combined. my friend played semi-pro in germany and, since we both agreed to quit smoking (2+months for me, 12 days for him), we decided i should learn the international language of males.
my first match was last saturday, at world cup stadium. i was already quite worried, having never even practiced, but the addition of 20 korean men and, again, world cup stadium, was enough to make me seize. i was a substitute, which was a good idea, and i also played goalkeeper where i performed admirably. but, i decided that my friend was going to have to give me lessons.
day one was very much day one, learning more than anything else, how to feel the ball with your feet. i should mention, all i originally asked to know how to do was to bend the ball. i can throw a curve-ball, and simply wanted to have the same ability with my feet. the first time we were (i thought) going to do this, instead he took me to world cup stadium.
i am thinking about hiring a film crew as i have received 3 hours of futball instruction, and i imagine it has to be rather amusing to watch
'what is, kevin?'
'no, what is?'
'no (slaps leg)'
yesterday i ended up playing in two matches, and then some extended playing time. i can barely walk. the first match happened by fluke. the night before i was out late, and knowing i was going to play last night, decided to go warm up, get the first round of sweat out of me. while i was there, practicing my dribble, etc, a group of korean men asked me to play with me. well, motioned for me to join. it was fun, but i was terrified. there was virtually no english, and these men had clearly been playing all their lives (see international language of males) and i was playing in my 2nd match. it was okay, i just stayed back on defense mostly. i need to get proper football shoes as this was a grit pitch (as most of them are at schools) and i nearly gave myself a hernia training to stop quickly in my sneakers. i did feel a bit bad, as it was clear i was uncomfortable and not fully able to assist my teammates. nice guys, tho. turns out one of them is "korean playboy" and we are all scheduled to drink soju as a group. also, one of them can be my friend, as we are the same age.
the second match was back at world cup stadium. the guys were happy to see me again, it was alot of fun. we got there a bit late, then had our quick warm ups. i started the game on defense (there were to be no substitutions this night) playing pretty well--getting in the way, disrupting passes, blocking a shot or two, clearing the ball out of our end. things really picked up when i got my first assist. prior to that point, all of my clearing efforts were lacking any sort of touch, just booting the ball out of our end, not concerned about where it ended up. this is okay in a pinch, but doesn't allow for break-aways, etc. this time, a simple chip over the other team and i hit my coach on the fly who finished it off. i had three shots on goal yesterday. one was a solid strike that even bent a bit, but the keeper had a perfect look at it the entire time so was able to stop it. the second missed the mark, but the third went right inside the goal-post for my first goal. funny part was this one happened very quickly (the first two i was shooting to challenge the keeper, this one was a rebound that was then passed to me to one time) that i didnt really see it. good times.
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