Note: This article was relevant two weeks ago.
Another note: Please excuse the cheesiness.
My sisters and I have seen the movie Little Giants one too many times. Not because I hate this movie from over-viewing, but because now I always fantasize about how my athletic endeavors will always end in tears of glory and champagne falling from the sky. Movies such as The Mighty Ducks, Dodgeball, and the aforementioned Little Giants have convinced me that no matter what athletic ability you have, "nothing is impossible."
Such genre of movies has imprinted this schema of how a less-than-stellar cast of athletes achieves greatness:
- Someone finds a reason to start a team. It can be getting revenge on an older sibling, trying to win a tournament for the sake of money, or community service. Take your pick.
- The coach or captain realizes that his roster consists of a couple of adequate players, some kids that do not even know the rules of the sport, a bunch of nerds, and the occasional pirate.
- Practice, practice, practice. And maybe even videos.
- Jesus joins the team. Well, not really. But usually, the weaker-thans will miraculously obtain a player of exceptional capability. This sparks their enthusiasm for the sport and a glint of hope is visible.
- The team then shows some actual improvement. Points are scored, games are won, and everyone is happy.
- Drama, drama, and draaaaaama. Someone on the team falls in love with another teammate and their love distracts everyone else from performing up to their ability. Someone gets pissed and leaves the team. In extreme cases, someone on the team dies.
- The final game is about to start and the team is still in shambles. After a miserable first half, everyone is just about ready to give up, including the coach and/or captain.
- Somehow, someway, the team reconciles and puts away all previous disputes. After an inspirational halftime speech, morale is exponentially boosted.
- With this adrenaline, the underdogs take the momentum back on their side and win! Hooray!
Now... why am I writing all this? Some of my friends back home will laugh at this, but here at Oberlin I have joined the "Grizzly Barrows" intramural soccer team.
Frankly, I don't exactly know how I got convinced into joining. But here I am. Perhaps it was the fact that I couldn't say no to team captain Rebecca Mostow, with her too-cute smile and wandering eye. Another possible explanation is that I thought my admirable hacky-sack skills would translate into greatness on the soccer field. Or maybe I just couldn't resist the sexual temptations of star goalie, David "Sizzling" Fegley.
No matter what the case, I decided to play for the team early in the season. When I realized that there is little correlation between being a good hacky-sacker and a good soccer player, I was in too deep. My phone was soon bombarded daily with texts reminding me about an upcoming game or practice.
Don't get me wrong, though: I have wholly enjoyed my time playing for Grizzly Barrows. Even more, I loved making parallels between dark horse sports movies and our very own soccer team:
- Rebecca Mostow confronts the people at Phillips Gymnasium and expresses her desire to play intramural soccer. "Okay... Make a team," they curtly answer. Thus, Rebecca creates the highly creative name of "Barrows FC" and is forced to scramble and conjure up an 11-person roster. Using her skilled hands, she creates beautiful Van Gogh-esque advertisements with washable, unscented Crayola markers to get the lovely people of Barrows to join.
- Barrows FC loses their first game 10-0 (or was it 8-0? Not sure, but it probably wasn't pretty). This is not necessarily due to a lack of talent, but more so a lack of cohesion and a limited number of players.
- Practice takes place every Saturday and Sunday. Rebecca successfully recruits more and more people to join the team by using persuasion, persistence, and sexual favors. Well... maybe not sexual favors. But for the sake of television, let's imagine that actually happened. On a side note, I am making way too much fun of Rebecca in this post.
- The equivalent of Pelé joins the team. His name is Karl Orozco... NOT. NOT TRUE IN THE LEAST BIT. Really, my prowess on the soccer field is the equivalent of a flamingo. I lack any sort of coordination to dribble the ball, I always trip and pretend that no one sees it, and my glasses fall off during every game. My only redeeming quality is that I always remember to bring a full water bottle, providing nourishment to those players that actually make themselves useful. In reality, the progress of Barrows FC is a result of hard work, better chemistry, and some super talented teammates.
- As Barrows FC gains respect, a name change is in favor: Grizzly Barrows. In addition to a new name, the scores in our next games get closer and closer. We even scored a few goals! Can you believe it? Soon enough, our fan base grows and the team gets its own, real-life cheer squad (conveniently named Barrows Cheer Squad). Newer, more vulgar cheers sprout with each passing game and the team is habitually showered with kisses, bras, and thongs after each game. With a menacing name, flashy new shirts, better skills, and the sassiest cheerleaders known to man, Grizzly Barrows is a force to be reckoned with. Somewhat.
I hope you guys are still following the plotline. Hate to say it, but the next few chapters don't exactly go according to plan. No, there's no drama involving inter-roster incest. No one leaves the team after a heated debate over who the best player on the team is. And no, no one died. I hope I don't lose too many readers at this point.
We enter the post-season facing Trey Zakos, the alumni team, in the first round. Despite losing to them 4-0 during the season, Grizzly Barrows still felt good about their chances coming into the game.
Now I'd love to tell you how we miraculously won our playoff game against Trey Zakos in double overtime with fan-favorite Helen Tang scoring the winning goal barefoot. Sadly, this was not the case. We ended up losing 2-0, but we gave a valiant effort. At least the cheer squad turned some heads with their unusual screams of praise. And besides, winning isn't all that matters.
Through this whole month and a half of soccer practices, games, pizza parties, and inspirational movie script speeches, I have learned more than just X's and O's. I tried something new and ended up liking it more than I thought I would. I discovered that pretending to run around with a purpose is way more fun than running on a boring treadmill to prevent the dreaded Freshmen 15. Most importantly, I've grown a fondness for my fellow Grizzly Barrows teammates (except for Ted).