Thursday, August 25, 2016

A tutu per tutti

Seriously, what is wrong with you people? I mean, sure, I've got the legs for it, but there is clearly something wrong with anyone who is willing to pay to see me in a tutu.

And now it is going to happen. It's all your fault!

Also, thank you. I wrote this a few days ago, but I suppose this is the right time to post it. Note that it was made possible, in part, by the same research team whose work you are supporting through the Color Run.

So, Ender played his first game with his new team. He had no idea where he would be playing, or even if he would be playing at all, since they have four goalies to divide among the two teams. The situation is in flux, as the presumed first team starter was dreadful in the first friendly, and lost his position to the first team number two. There was even speculation that he'd be sent down to the second team, which might well end up in Ender replacing him as the second team starter.

But when they suited up, the coach went with only one goalie, the club number three, who is surprisingly mobile despite being huge. I mean, we're talking 6'2", 280 at a minimum. Ender was dressed for the field, and assumed that he'd probably go in as either a defender or a wing, as those are the two field positions he's played before.

Now, keep in mind that I was his coach for the first four years of his soccer career and I've seen nearly every game he's ever played. He's a mediocre goalie and a slightly above average defender, which is why his insistence on playing goalie has always been a mystery to me. Decent size, good discipline, good awareness, below-average ball control, average speed, good toughness. Not a star player, not necessarily even a starter, but a solid and reliable player you can trust to come off the bench and hold his own without hurting the team. He's scored precisely one goal in his entire career, putting a pass from a corner kick into the upper right corner from just outside the left corner of the box.

He's also the youngest player on the men's team by at least a year. I still don't understand why he's not eligible for a junior team, but the ways of the national sports bureaucracy are byzantine and impenetrable. He also hasn't played on the field for more than two years; even in the practices in which he was able to take part for a while, he was playing in the nets.

The game started off reasonably well, but it soon became clear that the team has a fundamental problem. They have a fair number of skill players, and two with serious cannons attached to their legs, but they have no natural scorers. Despite generally controlling the game and creating multiple scoring chances, they were down 2-0 as their designated striker put the ball over the net, to the right of the net, and to the left of the net on three successive one-on-ones with the goalie. Forget the net, he couldn't even hit the keeper! He's a good player with good speed, but he simply cannot handle the pressure that being in scoring position places upon the player.

It was a friendly, so the substitutions were not limited. Ender was the third man in, and to my surprise, the coach put him in at striker. He didn't do much at first, and clearly didn't know what to do or where to go, except when his team was attacking. But when the midfield was in possession and brought the ball over the center line, his positioning was reliably excellent, which paid off after about 10 minutes when the other striker beat the left defender and fired over a knee-high cross that Ender redirected effortlessly into the net. 1-2. The team was totally fired up, redoubled their attack, and about five minutes later, Ender took a pass on the left side and returned the favor, sending a nice low cross to the other striker which he promptly put in the back of the net. 2-2. Fifteen minutes of playing striker and he'd already racked up one goal and one assist... talk about a flying start!

I was standing next to the coach, who nodded approvingly and mentioned how well Ender was playing. His expression, when I told him that it was the first time Ender had played up front, was downright comical. I'm not entirely sure that he believed me.

Unfortunately, the other team was very good and had two third-league players who promptly responded by carving up our defense to make it 3-2 at halftime. In the second half, Ender had a good chance that caught him wrong-footed, as well as a perfect cross that the striker somehow managed to whiff on in front of an empty net, after which he moved back to the wing, and then defense when one of the defenders got hurt. He played nearly the second half and was competent in all three positions. They lost 5-3, but everyone felt pretty positive about how the team had hung in there against what was observably a better team.

And despite the loss, I have to say that it was about as close to a perfect evening as one can hope to see in this world.

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Blogger Josh August 25, 2016 9:25 AM  

Well done everyone!

Praise God that ender is doing well.

Blogger Jack Ward August 25, 2016 9:35 AM  

A tutu? OK. This will be fun to see. Were I a rich person I could be persuaded to fly to Italy and watch the race. With camera. A video camera. And a bottle of really good Italian wine to chug during the race. I would probably need the wine...

Congrats to Ender. Well done indeed!

Blogger #7139 August 25, 2016 9:41 AM  

but there is clearly something wrong with anyone who is willing to pay to see me in a tutu.

Supreme Dark Lord, are we not the VILE, faceless minions? Our vileness is unfathomable.

Anonymous VFM #6306 August 25, 2016 9:41 AM  

I'm pretty sure a jetlagged alcoholic cameraman would not be able to keep pace with the world's fastest Indian in a 5k...

The drunk would stagger way, way too fast.

Blogger The Kurgan August 25, 2016 9:43 AM  

Excellent post.

Blogger robwbright August 25, 2016 10:07 AM  

Always good to see an entertaining football post. Nice work, Ender!

Blogger Nate August 25, 2016 10:09 AM  

A couple things...

1) Congrats mate. There is absolutely nothing as enjoyable as that moment when you're terrified because someone put your kid in a position to fail.. and seeing your kid wildly succeed.

2) To be honest... aren't you more worried about the distance than the Tutu?

Blogger VD August 25, 2016 10:13 AM  

1) thanks. I was absolutely shocked.

2) totally.

Blogger CarpeOro August 25, 2016 10:30 AM  

Never scored a goal myself when I played. I was a terrible ball handler so I would get it and pass it off. The two things I was good at was reading a passing situation and watching other players ball control to judge when they had the least control (at which point I'd stick my foot in and steal it). This only worked because I was playing against other kids that hadn't grown up playing the sport, but I found it applied in other sports also to some extent (basketball, hockey).

It sounds like Ender is even better at reading the field, which over the long haul will get your more of an edge than pure ability. Not against the most gifted, but against even some very talented opponents.

Anonymous Broken Arrow August 25, 2016 10:36 AM  

Nate is correct. There's nothing in the world like seeing your kid succeed when a challenge is put before them. Congrats Vox.

Anonymous #3254 August 25, 2016 10:41 AM  

Great post. Just fantastic all around.

Better start training.

Blogger Student in Blue August 25, 2016 10:45 AM  

Tutti fruity?

Blogger Remo - Vile Faceless Minion #99 August 25, 2016 10:55 AM  

Yes..... YES..... may I suggest allowing the VFM to pick the color if say another $3000 is earned? I've got another $20 I'd throw at a PINK tutu.... yes.... (slobber, slobber, grunt, slobber)

Blogger Fatherless August 25, 2016 10:59 AM  

#14 seems scary until you realize in most cases it means getting married, finding a good neighborhood to live in, and raising your kids to become self reliant adults.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 25, 2016 11:36 AM  

So...the rainbow tutu that comes with the kit, the pink Princess one, or the Babymetal black one.

Decisions, decisions.

Maybe put that to a family vote, too?

Blogger James Dixon August 25, 2016 11:37 AM  

> ... but there is clearly something wrong with anyone who is willing to pay to see me in a tutu.

Et tutu, Vox?

Blogger Latigo3 August 25, 2016 11:55 AM  

Congratulations Vox.

Even though your son may be a mediocre goal-keeper, I believe that his time as a goal-keeper allowed him to be a better field player. Obviously you have to have the skill for the field, but playing keeper allows you to see the entire field and you get a sense for where you need to be.
He may turn out to be a better attacking mid-fielder.

Again, congratulations.

Blogger JCclimber August 25, 2016 12:15 PM  

Now, this reinforces an important point.
People may be inclined to do the right thing, to give freely of their valuable resources - when there is no direct benefit to themselves.
- When they trust the money will actually do good rather than harm or be wasted
- When someone they trust says they will also be supporting the cause
- When others that they consider members of their tribe are participating
- When there is just that little extra something of entertainment or amusement attached if they hit the goal

Like the dunk tank at a fundraising event, or the pie in the face, shaving the head, wearing the jersey of the opposite team, etc.

Only works in a high trust society, though. Since the Amerikan society has much less trust, it is much harder to get charitable donations despite our relative wealth.

Anonymous #8601 August 25, 2016 12:24 PM  

I'm sure you'll look much prettier in a tutu than Scalzi.

Blogger Jack Ward August 25, 2016 12:30 PM  

After further thought; Spacebunny in a tutu is one thing. Vox in a tutu could be termed a crime against humanity.
Though, of course, there may be some, of any gender, or, no gender, that may find it appealing.

Anonymous Takin' a Look August 25, 2016 4:05 PM  

Vox in a tutu..

Blogger Steffen August 25, 2016 4:15 PM  

He who exalts himself shall be humbled.
He who humbles himself shall be exalted.

It's for a good cause, but these sneaky Dread Ilk have to know somehow these favors will be repaid in kind...

Anonymous slater August 25, 2016 5:23 PM  

Good God, soccer is a boring sport!!

Anonymous daddynichol August 25, 2016 5:54 PM  

Good to read of Ender's success on the field.

Blogger LP9 Solidified in Gold! Rin Integra August 25, 2016 10:10 PM  

I just checked the support and as usual, Vox can turn out support faster and higher dollar amounts than he perhaps predicted.

Well, the tuttu will be kinda alarming but I guess its good for motivation for slimness? I dont know, its totally cruel to torment a AWCA to begin with.

Awesome for Ender. Mom and dad made any sports of mine so much more fun, it wasn't about being uniforms or other the perfect weather. It was about teamwork and my parents enjoying a day like that. I miss them both.

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