The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

April 5, 2013

The Rookie: Goalie for just one day

OTTUMWA — It had been quite a while — since high school to be exact — since I’d ventured onto a soccer field in any sort of competitive capacity.

Well, actually, that’s only partly true. The aforementioned high school soccer experience consisted solely of soccer games in my Team games class (an upper crust gym class of sorts, minus the unpleasant aspects — running, weight lifting, swimming laps — of your typical gym class). When it comes to organized league play, my last appearance dated all the way back to fourth grade.

Yet, there I was Wednesday afternoon, in mediocre shape, decked out in red shorts and a gray T-shirt emblazoned with an orange eagle on the front given to me by an extremely likeable high school football coach from western Kansas, standing in front of a shorter-than regulation size goal waiting for the next shot.

In front of me, the Ottumwa girls soccer team stood poised, ready to send this sports reporter back to the snug confines of his desk and office. I was half expecting to re-remember why I retired from the soccer field to test my luck on the gridiron many moons ago. But, because of luck and perhaps a small sprinkling of skill, I didn’t do half bad.

Sure, some shots whizzed by me. And, yes, the smaller net made it easier for me to anticipate where the kicks were going. And, I’ll admit, there were times when the girls’ shots caught me totally off-balance, but the kicks were just a little wide of the goal.

Still, rightly or wrongly, I concede, that I did indulge in a little bit of self-praise afterward. After all, I did block a fair number of shots, which is better than I expected to do. Oh, the hidden advantages of low expectations.

But, alas, when push comes to shove, when Veronica Gonzalez — or Carissa Bailey or others — got a good shot on the goal, I didn’t, or at least I wouldn’t have, stood a chance.

First year coach Brett McKenzie even got into the act, as he shook off the rust and showcased why he was such a dynamic player at Central College. You see, I had — with my cat-like reflexes and excellent hand-eye coordination — blocked a couple of shots by his players, and McKenzie, perhaps looking to inject some momentum into his squad’s bloodstream, suddenly took his position behind the ball like a snake waiting to uncoil on his prey.  

Like a scene from a famous western, sans Wyatt Earp, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood (with or without an empty chair), it was McKenzie against me, man to man, mano y mano.

Cue the theme music from the “Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”  

I rocked back and forth on the balls of my feet and felt a rush of adrenaline surge through me as McKenzie waited to deliver a crushing kick. Then, in a ho-hum manner that reminded me of a person on a Sunday morning stroll, he casually booted a shot into the right corner of the net that I had no prayer of saving.

The casual manner exuded by McKenzie clothed the whole showdown in an anticlimactic garb that deflated my confidence like a balloon. Reality had strangled fantasy and, in a blink of an eye, I had metamorphosed from a confident goalie to the naive outsider I really was.

The rest of the story being written on the soccer field that day neither intensified nor lessened the main theme: I was decent, but not what you would call good. I made some more stops — some vestiges of athleticism remained from my more physically active days — but I wasn’t going to be a hot shot soccer goalie anytime soon.  

Throughout the whole affair, McKenzie and his players were good sports and I appreciated their willingess to go along with my plan. I wish the Bulldogs an abundance of luck this season.

Got a sports challenge for Courier sports writer Andy Heintz? He can be reached at aheintz@kc.rr.com.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 0423 OTT Sports IHCC softball mug Region XI Softball Tournament to begin Friday OTTUMWA -- With an eye on the weather forecast for this weekend, the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference has changed the days when the Region 11 postseason softball tournament will be played in Council Bluffs. The four-team tourney now will op

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2014 Region XI Softball Tournament Friday, April 25 Game 1 - Indian Hills vs. Iowa Western, 10 a.m. (98.7 FM KMGO) Game 2 - Southeastern vs. Muscatine, Noon Game 3 - Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 2 p.m. Game 4 - Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 4 p.m. Saturday, April 26 Game 5 - Game

    April 23, 2014

  • On Tap Thursday Girls Golf Ottumwa, Albia and Centerville at Oskaloosa Invitational, 2 p.m. Davis County and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont at Chariton Invitational, 4:15 p.m. Sigourney at Iowa Valley, 4 p.m. Van Buren at Central Lee, 4 p.m. HLV at North Mahaska, 4:15

    April 23, 2014

  • 2014 Drake Relays Qualifiers GIRLS Ottumwa 4x100 Relay (Sarah Schulz, Ellie Hammack, Sarah Thordarson, Erin Sheehy). Davis County Kate Birchmier (Discus, Shot Put). Hayleigh Sharp (Long Jump). Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Tasha Alexander (High Jump). 4x100 Relay (Abby Boyer, Sad

    April 23, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Sports IHCC baseball photo Falcons stay hot at Ellsworth IOWA FALLS -- The red-hot Indian Hills baseball team rode a great start at the plate to an even better finish on Tuesday at Ellsworth. The Falcons scored four first-inning runs and never looked back, putting away a scheduled nine-inning game with the

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0423 OTT Sports Area Girls Tennis photo Centerville girls split a pair of SCC tennis duals CENTERVILLE -- The Centerville girls tennis team split a pair of South Central Conference duals over the past week. The Redettes followed up a thrilling 5-4 win over Chariton with a 7-2 loss to Clarke last Thursday. Centerville head coach Emily Turne

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT Sports IHCC softball color photo Zip! Zip! Warrior softball sweeps through regular season finale OTTUMWA -- The Indian Hills Warrior softball team closed out its regular season with a sweep of North Central Missouri College Tuesday afternoon on its home diamond to set up some momentum heading into Friday's first round play in the Region XI tourn

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0423 OTT Sports Ottumwa girls soccer stand alone photo [Duplicate] Bulldog girls no match for powerful Waukee OTTUMWA — Despite an inspired effort by Ottumwa goalie Averi Cash, the Ottumwa girls soccer team was no match for soccer powerhouse Ankeny Tuesday at Eric Wertheim Field. The Warriors constantly fired shots at a perpetually busy Cash in a 10-0 victor

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0423 OTT Sports Ottumwa girls golf photo Ottumwa girls score second triangular golf win

    PELLA — With just five golfers on the team, the Ottumwa girls entered this spring knowing how important everyone’s individual score would be. That was certainly evident on Tuesday as the Bulldogs continued an impressive start to the season by edging

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0423 OTT Sports boys tennis color photo Ray brothers, Kramer lift OHS boys tennis past Ankeny OTTUMWA — Both Zach and Steve Ray played their respective doubles matches against Ankeny on Tuesday right in the middle of Dan Staggs Courts. Neither could have known just how important their matches had become as both entered the second set with the

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

NCAA Tournament Scoreboard
Sports photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook