We finally had a game this Saturday. It’s been about a month since we’ve played a league game because teams not showing up and games getting rescheduled. So I got put in at the start of half time playing striker. PG didn’t put me in as right wing where I usually play because I get too tired making all the runs down the field then back up to play defense so he just had be playing straight up top-man, the guy to score the goals. It was kind of cool getting put in at half time, one, because everyone else was tired, and two, because the score was 0-0. I was fired up to score. I haven’t really had a decent scoring opportunity this whole season, and I am gonna beat myself if I go home without scoring. So one opportunity came when I had my back turned to the goal and the ball came in the air from Bhekumusa and I flipped backwards for a bicycle kick but the ball went off my shin instead of my foot and the keeper blocked it. PG was shifting me around the whole game trying to confuse the defense. Another time came where Cantas crossed the ball to me when I was right in front of the big freaking goal with that tiny goalie in front of me and when I tried to control the ball instead of kicking it off the bounce with my left foot and shooting up into the sky, I completely botched my opportunity and, the keeper dove out on top of the ball. I was absolutely furious with myself, I still am. I played good defense though, everyone congratulated me on that and were really impressed but I was just too embarrassed by the way I played. It’s so easy to lose confidence out there, especially when you don’t speak the language as everyone else and communication is next to nothing besides yelling “Hey you!”and you know when all the fans are making fun of you, and when you’re the only white guy in Swaziland playing and all the eyes are on you and you don’t really know where to run most of the time and feel like a chicken with its head cut off so anticipating the plays are hard, so then you stop getting the ball as much, and then you botch perfect scoring opportunities.
I was talking to PG later about the game. We seem to always have deep convos about the soccer games that eventually lead to talking about future plans of the Nsoko Project and God working in the soccer guys. But he gave me some peace of mind. I’ve been so bummed at myself of how I played; he told me that the whole game the coach from the other team was yelling, “Don’t let that white man touch the ball! Be rough on him! I don’t want him to even touch the ball!” Now that just makes me feel good. One because they see me as a threat and two because I did touch the ball, kind of a lot too and made some decent plays even though I didn’t score and played rougher on all of them because, well, all I really have out there is the muscle I have, they have all the skills. Yeah, it was a rough game… I kicked a guy in the face…his face shouldn’t have been in front of my foot….