Sunday, May 6, 2012

These guys are good

To borrow a line from an old NBA commercial, “These guys are good!”

Those guys are the soccer players for Poteau and Heavener, two teams which met at Harvey Stadium Friday night in a Class 4A quarterfinal playoff game.

I have only attended approximately three soccer games in my life. The previous ones were not exactly compelling.

That certainly wasn’t the case Friday. I was caught up in the action, the excitement and all that goes with it.

I can’t count how many games I have been to this year, but Friday’s game was as good as any I have attended.

The players were like magicians with the soccer ball, backwards kicks to teammates, headers which would have given be a migraine, and the constant action.

They did things with the ball I could never dream of doing. Poteau’s Ashby Clark did something I have never seen before.

On throw ins, he would start way back at the track, run forward, place the ball on the ground and while flipping over heave the ball a long way and wind up standing. If I tried that, they would need to bring out the backboard and neck traction.

There was so much action that I grew tired just watching them within a few minutes.

It was hot and humid and the players were coated with sweat after a few minutes. But they kept going, like the old Energizer Bunny, full-speed sprints from one end to the other, then back again, with only short periods of rest.

Despite the importance of the game and one featuring opponents from only 15 or so miles apart, there seemed to be a respect between the teams which you seldom see in a sport anymore. Late in the game, there was a break and Heavener’s players got a drink of water.

They also shared the water bottles with a couple of Poteau players near the sidelines. Perhaps it is a sad reflection of the times, but that was one moment I will remember for a long time.

Think that would have happened in any other competitive sport such as football? I don’t.

Poteau eventually won, 4-2, to move on to the semifinals Tuesday at Mount St. Mary’s. The loss was the first of the year for Heavener in the Wolves’ first trip to the playoffs in the five years the school has been playing the sport.

And after the game ended, the players lined up and crossed the field to shake hands and offer congratulations. Again, just the way it should be.

1 comment:

  1. That's soccer, a lot of respect for other players. They recognize the talents of players and respect that. I love soccer and at times the scoring is boring, but the game is always great with many strategies and talents. But I agree that that was a super game with a lot of talent on the field. Bring on the Olympics.