On Page 2 of a recent Sun Journal sports section, that day’s columnist asked, “Let’s say you tune in late (to a soccer game). Do you worry that you missed something?”
In a spirit of gratitude for the Sun Journal’s highly entertaining Page 2, I’d like to answer, somewhat indirectly, by referring to other sports. The point appeared to be that you wouldn’t miss a goal because they are scarce in soccer. So let’s assume the first 15 minutes are scoreless in these examples:
In hockey – if you’re not watching the Bruins – you’d miss wince-inducing collisions and glove saves that make me wonder how goalies can be so acrobatic with all that bulky equipment hanging on their bodies.
In baseball, you’d miss the best pitchers carving out the first couple innings of an “I’m-in-charge here” masterpiece that leaves future Hall of Fame hitters trudging back to the dugout talking to themselves. I’ve seen hurlers do just that, from Warren Spahn to Nolan Ryan to Pedro and Josh Beckett, and I’ve loved every minute of it. And how about Manny plucking a ball off the Monster, twirling with the balletic grace of … well, Manny, and getting the ball to second on the fly?
That’s why games stay scoreless – great defense. The same goes for soccer goalkeepers and the superbly conditioned athletes who, padless and helmetless, smash into quicksilver wings and strikers. Indeed, after 15 minutes, you wonder how they can keep up that pace for another 75 minutes.
Dave Griffiths, Mechanic Falls