Chapter 2: Post-Championship Blues

‘Where am I now?’ I asked myself as the sunrays awakened me.

Feeling too weak and disoriented, I closed my eyes to return to dreamland, only to find the effort futile. Then the world starts to whirl. In no time I find myself on the sink.

The whole scene seems more familiar now.

Pre-season Day 1 routine: Nursing hangover.

And yeah, a breather. The break I yearn for.

Suddenly a mini-plan rolls out from nowhere: call up my friends, hang out until dawn, eat out to slightly ruin my physique, and imbibe the YOLO attitude (up to its stupidest sense). I don’t feel like training, really.

The discomfort somehow subsides. Until I hit the door which sent me back to reality.

Everything does not end with just one championship – no matter how we longed for it.

In my stint with Columbia Avenue FC, I have seen myself playing in different positions, nothing of which were permanent. Certain events or opponents determined roles I had to take. It was an uncanny mix I needed to deal with.

That’s one thing I hate about the club. Our strategies were dictated by the enemy. We have always been the underdogs. We haven’t maximised opportunities to impose conditions, thus keeping ourselves on the defencive as much as we can.

And it was especially true when dealing with Smudgers United. They have created as much chances to strike. Although we have kept them from scoring, no attack was launched against them. It can be tiring, both physically and emotionally.

I want to break that shackle next season.

But how?

Post-championship does not give me anything concrete on what to do with my game. I don’t feel good enough to become a striker. My footwork and dribbling skills are not for a midfielder. I suck at marking opponents. I tend to rush and forget about control.

Then acid shot up in my chest. Heartburn.

Dude, you have a big heart for the game, says the voice inside me.

Thinking under the fever of a championship, I sensed a cause beyond claiming cups and silver wares: to claim hearts, to trigger smiles and cheers from the audience, and to seal an indelible mark in the world – whatever it has to be.

My thoughts got cut off when my iPhone rang.

AC McKinley’s manager is calling me.

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