a picture of a  soccer ball and a footbal.
There are people in the world who think that
sports are merely games. Such people have never
followed college football in Alabama, USA, or
any level of soccer in almost every other country
in the world. These so-called games are matters of
almost infinite importance to the true sports fans.

A Sports Fan's Nightmare

It has become a cliche to claim that a sports team has "snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory," but that is exactly how the two teams I follow most closely turned this past Saturday into a fan's nightmare. To begin with, my second favorite team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, managed to blow a big lead late in the Arkansas game and ended up losing 34-31. A late turnover here by Bama and a stupid penalty there by Bama, and -- all of a sudden -- time and Bama's luck had run out, and the Razorbacks had managed to tie the game. It took two overtimes, but Bama lost the game, a game that really should have been won by Coach Shula's boys. I felt terrible as that game ended, but things got even worse when my true favorite team, the Clay Recreation Under-14 Soccer Cougars went down 1-0 to everybody's traditional soccer enemy, the Mountain Brook Soccer Club. Despite the efforts of my handsome, tall, intelligent and talented grandson Jake and his hard-charging mates, a last minute error by some other grandfather's grandson allowed those accursed lads in Brookie-red shirts to take a corner kick which resulted in a cheap goal slipped into the net behind the keeper's back. Still someone else's grandson -- no names will be mentioned here! -- misplayed his position at keeper by getting too close to the guy taking the corner and also failed to direct a fullback to guard the back side of the net so that the long corner kick dropped over the keeper's head and no one was there by the far post except a red-shirt who tapped the ball in for an easy score. After 68 minutes of flawless play, someone else's grandson, with only two minutes to go in the match -- again I'll not call any names today! -- had really screwed up at goal-keeper and robbed us of a tie which might have kept us even in the standings with first-place Mountain Brook. As the Saturday evening sunset lengthened the shadows over the well-manicured upper soccer field at Mountain Brook High School, the nightmare was complete; both my teams had managed to stumble into embarassing defeats when they should have won.

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