They have just finished playing 2 v 1 on a full-length U12 field. Lindsay and Graham both play for Liverpool locally, but the man has beaten them 18-12. Lindsay is irritated about it.
“All right. Over to the big goal. Five-shot PK shootout.”
“Seriously, Dad? I wrestled and then we played and I’m exhausted.”
“Oh my bad. Fortunately, tournament-level PK shootouts in elimination games happen right at the start when you’re well rested.”
“You are soooo annoying.”
“Even worse, you’re a losing loser who loses, and I’m a winning winner who wins. So you’re fixing to lose again. You shoot first.”
He takes his spot as goalie on the line and starts hopping around and waving his hands. “You’re dead on arrival.”
She sails the kick. They switch and he buries his.
She puts the ball on the spot. He stands slightly off to the left, and when she starts her run up, he dives right and saves her kick.
“I told you. Losing loser who loses.”
He buries his next shot.
“I can’t even,” she says.
“No, you can’t. You have no chance.”
She puts the ball on the spot.
“When you miss this one, I’m burying mine and we won’t even have to go to five.”
Her kick sails wide.
He lines his up. “Here. I’ll even kick left footed and still finish you off.” He does, and he does.
They both move to dig the extra soccer balls out of the net. The man is laughing.
“Enough of what? You’re mad that I’m a winning winner who wins?”
“Dad!” She balls up her right fist and punches him in the stomach.
He winces but laughs. “Lindsay, you can’t haul off and hit me.”
“But you are soooo annoying!”
“Now why do you think I’m doing that?”
“Cuz you’re wicked annoying!”
“Do you know what the PK conversion percentage is in the Premier League?”
“Between 75 and 80 percent. A well-placed penalty kick cannot be defended. It doesn’t matter if a goalie guesses right. So what do goalies do?”
“Try to guess right and hope for the best?”
“They mess with your head. Everything I did in goal is what they do. They shade one side and jump to the other. They jump around and cause distractions. They talk. They stall for time.”
“Oh yeah, you’re right. Hope Solo once walked off to get a drink of water.”
“Right. But here’s the thing. You are in charge. You cannot be defeated if you do your job right. You block it all out. You ignore the crowd, the moment, the goalie’s craziness. You pick your spot and you control the goalie. Move her around with your eyes. Give her false signals. But pick your spot, see it clearly, and smoke the ball with authority. Be the boss. Who was in charge this whole session?”
“Next week, you be in charge.”