Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Played soccer in Baltimore for a long time in 50's through the 70's, and still remain a fan of the game.  When I played, the season was in the winter, and watching the women win the gold in the Olympics brought this old piece back from the deep recesses of my memory.


THE GOALIE
By Fred Ruark
8/8/1974

Standing tip toe in the cold soggy mud
Squinting against the icy rain
Trying to follow what’s going on
At the far end of the pitch

Icicles form on the net at your back
Your fingertips freezing inside your big gloves
A solitary warrior in a rectangular frame
Part of the team ….. but lonely, alone

You play the same game but abide different rules
You can’t wear the colors that get the fans cheering
With the game in front of you
You’re the defensive boss

You’re the rear guard, the last ditch defender
When all others fail, you’re on stage
Decide – Hold your line or charge the ball?
Decide and act – To hesitate is to fail

The goat or the hero with no stops between
Your defenders split and a striker breaks through
He’s onside, you tense to repel the attack
Don’t move too soon, but don’t wait

The rain in your face sets your eyeballs on fire
The ball looks the same as the mud
It’s come down to this one on one – sudden death
You meet the attack with attack off your line

You make yourself big to reduce the shot’s angles
The outside of his left boot strikes the ball hard
The ball curls left just touching your hand
Not enough … you hear the ice in your net shatter like glass

The attacker takes off in a high victory leap
Team mates pull him down and pile on.
Your team mates, dejected, retreat from the pitch
You lie there alone in the mud