|Perhaps one of the unsung and wonderful things about playing soccer is afterwards when all the plays run through your head once you sit still or do something else. Not when you fall asleep, just when you pay attention to something else, more or less when you’re alone again.
These are soccer plays or sequences both good and bad. The, ‘Oh, I should have played the ball there.’ The, ‘Oh, I should have cut this way or that way.’ The, ‘I had that guy beat and all I had to do was slip the ball through.’ The, ‘How come he didn’t score after a played the ball perfectly to him.’ And the, ‘I should have shot.’ All these moments wash over your mind in brief movie clips.
It’s not a silent film either. The clips that flash in and out of your head have sounds too. Like those moments where you made a good play and you heard an oooh or an ahh.
And it’s after those particularly good or intense soccer games when this film in your head is better than most movies you’ll see, unless a resurrected Stanley Kubrick or someone like Martin Scorsese directed the flick. The movie in your head after playing is better than seeing Mad Max: Fury Road in the theater. Well, maybe not that good.
To me, the film running through your head is something you savior perhaps as much as the game you just played – dosing out equally pleasurable feelings or pains as when you were physically there moving and doing those things. Yes, running through the game in your head afterwards is almost as fun as playing the game itself. It just so happens that you pretty much don’t have control of it.
It’s not like you’re focused on rehashing the game. The soccer game is controlling your mind when you’re driving home or walking the dog the next day. Moments from the game jump into your mind until the next time you play a soccer game and replace this movie.
Sure, there are those bad games where things just don’t go well, and you painfully recount certain plays and moments at a nearly depressive level, but it’s the rehashing of the game that makes you better. Makes you want to go out the next day and train – try to get better. Work on your left foot so next time you can bend the ball into the far corner after you cut inside with your left.
It’s a pretty egocentric series of remembrances, too. The plays all involve you. It’s rare that you rehash a set of plays you weren’t involved in. It’s only the plays you took some part in that seem to run through your brain. The run you made but nobody saw you or it was too late before they did. The time you flicked the ball up and over the defender’s foot and scored.
I wonder what it’s like inside Ronaldinho’s or Neymar’s brain after they’ve played a soccer game where they’ve scored a hat trick in a stadium full of 90,000 people. I can’t really imagine that. For Ronaldinho, you get a bit of a taste in this Nike Soccer ad.
I wonder what it’s like inside Lionel Messi’s brain after playing Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. I think it’s time for Charlie Kaufman to write another movie: ‘Being Lionel Messi’. I’m sure Messi even rehashes the games he’s played and gets on himself for those one or two moments where he didn’t do something brilliant. Otherwise, I don’t think he’d play anymore.
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