I have always been an underdog in sports. And like all underdogs, I always hated loosing. I remember a childhood incident. I was playing cards with my Mami (aunt). It was the simple game of Bhikar-Savkaar. (each player takes turns playing the card on top of his stacks, and if your card has same type as the card below, you win) and I lost... and then I burst up in a fit of rage, tore the cards and shut myself in the room :-) I was angry with this game, with the winner for having won, and mostly with myself for having lost it. So then on, I have tried to avoid games I loose, and found perfect ally in this quote from "Catcher in the rye", as a balm over all past lost games.
Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it's a game, all right - I'll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren't any hot-shots, then what's a game about it? Nothing. No game.and thanks to Soccer, the mental maps are changing a bit. Firstly, it was solely for exercise. I used to run up & down the field, sometimes without touching the ball during the entire play :-) But that used to tire me out, sink my energy, and give a sound sleep. Thats the beauty of Soccer. No matter who you are on the field, you have somewhere to run, unlike Cricket :-)
Then slowly dawned on me that I have a decent shot at being good at this. As a defender that is. I discovered I have good focus to stay with the ball, and mark players. So I started studying passes, interceptions, charging, blocking lines amongst offenders. I tried this & that, and found what worked.
It also teaches how to play as a team. How to coordinate with mid fielders and other defenders to do more than one alone possibly could. You take pleasure in others' triumphs, and taste the team spirit. Earlier, I just used to observe the ball, now I observed players, understanding, appreciating the beauty of their game, understanding their intuition and guessing their next actions. All that helped me as a defender of course, but it also helped me enjoy the game at each step.
Lastly, it got rid of some nasty habits. When you goof up, there is some regret which keeps ringing in the memory. It used to ring a little too loudly for me :-) That made me bask in undue glory at smallest triumphs, and sink in undue regret over smallest mistakes, both of which made me a bad defender, because I lost my focus. When I realized this, I made an effort to be memoryless, just try to be in the present moment, and may be next 10 seconds, and by jove.. thats is such a great habit! I recommend it to everybody :-)
Soccer is indeed a beautiful sport... and I am learning sportsmanship. Joga Bonita