By: Vanessa Forbes-Pateman
Hey ladies, by now you must have guessed that I’m Caribbean, right? Well, I was straight up on the edge of my couch this weekend because Usain is baccckkkk with a vengeance and this time the lightning god isn’t crushing and dominating on the asphalt; he’s kicking around a soccer ball on turf.
Yasssss, Usain is playing pro soccer!
Yo, I was a little despondent when Beckham left the sport, ‘cause face it, he was straight up dreamy (sorry Posh Spice, but girl, your hubby was legit a cutie), and beyond being classy in sassy shorts, he could really play soccer. Beckham mainstreamed it for the rest of you guys, but European Futbol was always better than American Gridiron. The lightning god has moved from the asphalt to the turf to turn it up a notch and bring back some swagger to Futbol.
Yeah, it was chaos when Usain banhammered not one but two goals over the weekend. Upon scoring his first goal, he promptly celebrated with his signature “To Di World” pose; the second was followed with the popular Fortnite dance (ESPN.com). Bolt, who holds eight Olympic records as the fastest man on the track, has pivoted to soccer by joining an Australia Pro team, Central Coast Mariners. It should be noted that he has not officially signed yet with CCM, but he has played in two other games and his strong performance may lead to a regular season roster posting.
Friday was an important point for the aspiring soccer player, and it added impressively to the wheelhouse of amazing things he’s capable of doing. He’s certainly fast enough, but given that he’s struggled with stamina issues in his other two appearances, the turf is obviously not asphalt. He was able to stay in the game until the 75th minute (YahooSports.com). My money’s on the lightning god; in spite of his stamina issues, he’s got a decent kick, and physique wise, he’s pretty legit up there. He still looks equally ungainly as he did on the asphalt, but when you’re that tall and a quarter-miler…eh, you’re bound to look like a weirdly human version of the Road Runner…if he made that meep-meep sound I would collapse in hysterical laughter. I’m just as ungainly, being not vertically challenged and a runner (specifically a marathon-er, and I’m totally fine with the fact that I have a super weird looking stride. My coach would always be like, “you look weird doing that, but it works, so meep-meep.” It’s really because our center of gravity is much higher than shorter or average height people…so eh, we look odd. I’m pretty sure it’s akin to Mr. Bean running, same visual effect.
Back to soccer, or futbol, and the basics of how you play it. You know how you have that big metal H on both side of the football field? Well, in soccer it’s like half an H with a net attached. So grab a bunch of friends, toss a coin, and whoever wins calls the goal they will be defending. Remember, you and your mates will need 22 players, 11 for each team, one of which is the goalie. The winner of the coin toss gets first kick-off. Oh, before I forget, you’re going to need a spherical ball…hahaha…that’s super important. You can’t play a game of pick up soccer without a ball. Each team competes to get the ball under the bar and between the posts. So yeah, basically, your team has to get the ball into that half-H. A regulation soccer ball is 68–70 cm (27–28 in) circumference, but you can make your game super interesting by using a beach ball, which is lighter, if all else fails. The team in possession of the ball uses a series of moves to drive the ball towards the opponents’ goal with their chest and feet, where they can then use a header or kick it into the goal, thereby scoring. It is very similar to American football, whereas the objective is to get the ball into your opponent’s goal (end-zone). A match consists of two 45-minute halves. “The rules of soccer are very simple, basically it is this: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does” (Phil Woosnam, former Commissioner of the North American Soccer League). So ladies, what’s better than Men in tights? Men in shorts. What’s even better than men in shorts? Men in shorts who are acrobats; it’s like watching Cirque du Soleil without all the glitter.
I, for one, am looking forward to what is shaping up to be an interesting career change for the Lightning Bolt. I hope he does officially sign with the Central Coast Mariners of Australia soon. I am an avid futbol fan, but I haven’t really paid attention since Beckham retired. It’ll be cool to cheer for another team from down under, since I’m already an All Blacks fan (rugby and hakas), but that’s another story. Ladies, grab your peeps and guys, put together your teams, the City of Davenport Parks and Recreation has the Davenport Soccer Complex (563-388-5905), which is centrally located at 8991 N Division St, Davenport, IA 52806. It features free parking, 10 well-kept fields, and restrooms, and is open Monday to Friday. It’s a great place to get a pick-up game going. Don’t forget to check this space next week for some other interesting happenings in Sports.