The Tuesday XI: Lost Boys Edition
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents
Today we celebrate the return of the school year by thinking of the children. Not just any children, but badass ones – the kids we all wanted to be when we grew up. Some of them might have aged and become either a best-selling author/religious cult leader or a 41-year-old pinch runner or Batman (briefly) or Robin Williams, but each of them did their best work in their childhood or early teenage years.
(We wanted to include Calvin on the team, but we couldn’t interest him in the idea of organized sports.)
GK – Sloth – Our net-minder is the biggest kid of all from one of the biggest kid movies of all. Physically imposing and impossibly strong, he rallies his defense with his trademark cry:
LB – Tom Sawyer – By the time he’s done with them, opposing forwards will be convinced it’s in their best interests to score into their own goal.
LCB – Encyclopedia Brown – In the heat of the moment, no one can tell just how he manages to save the day (and a sure goal) by exploiting an opponent’s mistake, but when he explains it in the locker room afterwards it always seems glaringly obvious.
RCB – Bart Simpson – Opposing personalities balance one another out in our back line. Bart was once banned for six games for blindsiding an opponent who was free on goal with a skateboard.
I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down.
I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down. I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down. I will not give them a legitimate and very painful reason to fall down.
RB – Huckleberry Finn – Idle, lawless, vulgar and bad, he nonetheless always seems to stumble into the right play.
LCDM – Ender Wiggin – No matter how inventive your playmaker’s moment of brilliance may be, he’s already anticipated and defeated it. The enemy’s gate is down.
RCDM – Dick Grayson – Sure he’s moved on from his Robin days, and been replaced by somewhere between four and eleven different people, but he’s got loads of experience working next to someone who knows everything the enemy is going to do.
LW – Edgar Frog – More tools and harebrained schemes than anyone else on the field. Particularly loves going up against teams that aim to suck the life out of a game.
CAM – Benny the Jet Rodriguez – Strong and fast. He can score seemingly at will, hits passes hundreds of feet that drop in beautifully right where he was aiming, and always comes through in the clutch. Benny's so great I just spent ten minutes browsing for PF Flyers to buy.
No all-time team of "What if this or that American athlete had played soccer?" is complete without Benny Franklin Rodriguez.
RW – Short Round – More moves and harebrained schemes than anyone else on the field. Particularly loves going up against teams that aim to rip the life out of a game.
CF – Peter Pan – Dominant in the air when he’s not chasing shadows in his efforts to get through the opposing defense.
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"The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruff
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