Today, I saw a group of children playing soccer and they were relishing what looked like a penalty shootout. The space for the high octane action appeared inadequate, and I could guess that they just decided to head into penalties without even playing fast.
Now if you have ever played football when young, you will agree with me that there are no specific rules, and even if they were there they would still be broken left, right, centre, with utmost impunity. It is like in entertainment wrestling match, whereby a contender can turn against the referee, or decide to hit the opponent with a chair. This takes you back to those days of Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Triple H, Stephanie MacMahon, Eve Torres, Michele McCool, Steve Austin, Beth Phoenix………A time of wanton disregard of referee rules. The referee is not safe.
Back to the little children. I could notice the tension on their foreheads, the wrinkles and protruding eyeballs spoke a lot. The charged atmosphere was palpable. I could read their minds and at least, tell what they were thinking, anticipating, plotting.
Welcome to the World of Football! The World’s most popular sport.
In this World of Football, one of the most adrenaline-charged time in a match is when the two opposing teams fail to score a goal as the time set elapses fast and furious. The final whistle blows and penalty shootout becomes inevitable.
A penalty shootout time is the most traumatizing for football fanatics. It is the time the heartbeat becomes as loud as a jet engine, you start biting your fingernails, and all the attention is channelled to the kickers and keepers.
This is a time you start asking yourself what would become of you in case your team loses. Bear in mind that you had been talking big about it. You had thumped your chest severally, proclaiming your team’s prowess to all and sundry.
The outcome of the shootout will determine if you will eat supper in peace or pieces. It will determine if you will talk to anybody that evening, or with tail between your legs, head home in loud silence.
In the shootout, the kicker must be very clever to trick the keeper. On the other hand, the keeper must be very calculating to block the ball.
It is a time of ‘wait and see’. It is a season in Football League. It is time that almost every team experiences. These are statistics that no team can disapprove.
Surviving the penalty shootouts
Life has many seasons. There are seasons when you go on a winning spree. There are seasons when you lose. There are seasons when you ‘draw’. There are seasons when penalty shootout is inevitable.
There was a time when Paul could send demons scampering. There are times when he could restore Eutychus to life. There are times he could convincingly demonstrate before the Stoics and Epicureans that there was only one true God. There were also times when he prayed for God to remove the thorn in His flesh and He didn’t. There were times when he was put in chains. There were times when Alexander the Copper Smith (not Alexander Hamilton) did him great harm.
One important thing is that Paul remained steadfast. David remained steadfast. Esther remained steadfast. Ruth remained steadfast. Daniel remained steadfast. Anne remained steadfast. They all remained steadfast even in the times of penalty shootout. Even in the season of draws. Even in the times of winning. Even in the season of loses.
They remained steadfast. They did not entertain double-mindedness. That is the spirit.
“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”
― Vince Lombardi Jr.