Saturday, November 13, 2010

What is an Own Goal

In hind sight I think I got ahead of myself. Here I have been writing the Own Goal column for a year and I have not taken the time to discuss the very nature of the title. I don't know if an official definition exists, television commentators and vicious competitors are quick to throw out the designation without much thought. Sure, any ball that bounces into the net off a member of the defensive team (other than the goalie) is an own goal. Life, and soccer, however, are not that simple. 

Occasionally a motivated fullback will find him or herself standing on the goal line with their hands behind their back waiting to get blasted by a striker five feet away. If that ball should careen off a broken skull or arm (cleverly placed out of any protective position to prohibit a penalty shot) call me a radical but I don't think that the fullback in question deserves the ridicule of anyone. While the black and white judgemental people of the world scream "OWN GOAL", I think the real judgement come from inside yourself. 

After a technical own goal you have to go home, lie in bed and think about it. Then you go to work and phone, e-mail and visit your most trusted confidants and explain the situation. If you have a spouse or significant other explain the situation to them. If they are there to do something other than claim half the assets they will offer help. After all the replays and input from friends, colleagues, team mates and partners you sit down and watch Soccer Saturday. Since 90% of the highlights are goals you can see how the multi-million dollar fullbacks screw-up. Then, and only then, you ask yourself several questions. Was there something I could have done different? Why was I left on the goal line protecting a huge open net like a no-armed goof? Why did the goalie tackle me as the ball arrived? Where were my ten assistants? 

If the answers are: yes; I don't know; because I was in the way; and playing their positions; then it was an own goal. If the answers were no; because everyone got caught up field trying to score; he or she was late; and lost; then do yourself a favour and forget about it. If you are like me you have enough trouble dealing with your own mistakes, don't carry the weight of everyone else's.

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