Soccer adventures

They started a soccer team at work. Open tryouts/scrimmage. It’s been a long time since I played, and I’m out of shape, but what the heck. I always liked soccer, and how bad can I be? Like riding a bike, it’ll come back quick.

Last week:
After a creditable five minutes at left fullback, I am sucking air. I sub for the goalie to get a rest. Immediately I make a save, deflecting the ball to the side. I run after the ball, but being pressured, kick it upfield. Right into the waiting feet of the other team, who easily puts the ball in the now-empty net. It is then I realize, what with being the goalie and all, I could have just picked the ball up.

On the next play a defensive mistake leads to a breakaway, one man attacking the goal with no defenders. I don’t mind that he scored, but he scored by dinking the ball through my legs. Ouch.

In the second half, I move back to my customary fullback spot. The other team has a corner kick, and I am guarding the back post. The ball lofts towards the goal. It is deflected by the goalie, and comes right past my head. Without any conscious thought, I reach up and slap at the ball. I am not the goalie at this point. Twenty-one other players stare at me. And my slap doesn’t even stop the ball. Absolutely pathetic.

This Week:
And yet I am ready for more. Today I figured I’d have worked a few kinks out. I’ll still be out of shape, but at least I’ll be past the dumb mistakes. Yes sir, bring it on, I am ready.

On the very first play, running towards the ball, something in my thigh goes pop. I call for a sub, hobble off to the sideline, and wincingly make my way to the car.

I suck.

Just a few random video links

Balance. I saw this at an Animation festival (back when that was something artistic), and was captivated by this. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, it’s back. A wonderfully haunting allegory about nuclear weaponry. (Or something.)

Bill Simmon’s (SportsGuy) YouTube Hall of Fame.
Chock full o’ links to great sports and pop culture videos.

Fun with Flash:

The Wand. A minor internet sensation, well worth your time.
A neat, but oddly disturbing, Flash story.
Flyguy. A great timewaster, and the music is groovy also.

Water Ban

Yesterday, or the day before, DeKalb county put a complete ban on all outdoor watering. I found this interesting, because I have just finished reading Jared Diamond’s latest book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.
Don’t recognize that name? He’s the author of Guns, Germs and Steel. One of the threads running through Collapse is enivromentalism, and how human psychology interacts with environmental issues. Humans generally are not very good at understanding or reacting to long term or low risk threats, which is where environmental concerns usually occur. Humans also (quite naturally) are extremely selfish, and won’t sacrifice much for other groups of humans.

Throughout the world, freshwater supplies are dwindling. In my area of the world, three states spend much of their time bickering and suing each other for access to the same limited supply of water. I am one of the consumers of that water (the Chatahoochee basin). The water’s dissapearing fast, so conservation measures are being enacted. This year is particularly bad, because a faulty chip somewhere let a billion odd gallons go out without anyone noticing, and the government wouldn’t believe the residents who told them the water level looked low.

A total ban is unusual around here. Most counties go to alternate water days (odd-numbered houses one day, even-‘s the next), or certain hours of the day, or other halfway measures. I wonder how effective partial measures are. If I water my lawn 3 days a week, what do I care which days it is? I have a timer on my sprinkler, so the hours of the day doesn’t bother me. Does it significantly decrease consumption?

What incentives are there to rat on neighbors? I find this fascinating. The day after the ban started, our next door neighbor was watering her plants same as always. I dramatically cut back the sprinkler schedule (to about 8% of what it was), but didn’t completely turn it off. Never for a moment did I think that either of us would tattle. But if usage had been more overt I might have. Two motives conflict: (1) You shouldn’t ever start a fight with your neighbor unless unavoidable, and (2) Hey, that’s just unfair! I’d love to see a study on how those motives play out in the real world.