Monday, February 18, 2008

A hair cut and a shave...

Hi all,

This is what I have been saying to people who have been asking "What have been upto?"; "Giving my blog a much required haircut and a shave."

Some stuff that I have put on the blog includes email subscription to the blog feed:

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All you need to do now to subscribe to the Utopian Dream is to make your way to the dark green sidebar of the page and subscribe to the email feed. Alternatively you can subscribe to the feed on your MyYahoo, iGoogle or get it messaged to your phone using Pulsmo; all links given in the sidebar, below the shoutbox.

Also added a reader count chicklet just below the profile information to keep track of the number of subscribers to the blog.

So do subscribe to receive updates as soon as I blog. :-) Thanks guys and of course the gals!!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

The requiem of an advancing goalkeeper

I stand here transfixed, like one of those vampires from a B-grade Dracula flick, who just had a stake driven through the heart or whatever it is that vampires keep in their breast pockets. The only difference being that, in my favorite blue jersey, pair of black shorts, brand new Pike studs and gloves, I am way too abundantly clad to resemble one of those white sheets of horror in their birthday suits. Inside I feel just as pale and hollow. Through the cobwebs in my brain I see the advancing striker who to my clouded mind bears a stark resemblance to that sinful hero from Van Helsing, his name escapes me now. It does not matter, nothing intelligible is registering anyways. Every step he takes just doubles the weight causing that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. The only word that bounces off the walls of my skull and dives back into my brain like the hangover of a bad vocabulary test is Déjà vu.

It can’t be happening again. The colors and layers that make up the landscape seem to fall apart like bricks under the onslaught of a wrecking ball, only give way to scenes from another day. I feel like I have been teleported back in time, to the match against Al Brahrim. I had gotten to know just before the start of the match that I was going to be presented with the award for the league’s MVP (Most Valuable Player). My team regardless of the results of today’s match had been crowned league champions. Boundless joy jumped up and down in the confines of my brain and just like today but under extremely different circumstances; nothing was registering in the mind. The game seemed headed for a dull goalless draw thanks to some spineless display from the forwards of both the teams. Both my counterpart and I were having an easy day at office if one could say so about a goalkeeper’s job. Deep into injury time I began to unwind and my already meandering mind seemed to take off into another dimension. There I pictured myself receiving the MVP award with the love of my life cheering me from the stands as I winked at her and blew her a kiss to serve as a reminder for what was in store later. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Al Brahrim’s star striker Wadghi Al Kebib start to make a powerful run with the ball. Shutting out the delicious thoughts wiggling around in my mind I focused on the job at hand.

Al Kebib was the very best the league had to offer. At 6 ft 1 inch he was just about the perfect height for a striker and his lightening speed was enough to strike terror in the hearts of the best defenders and goalkeepers. No not me, I knew that I was prepared. I was considered one of those natural goalkeepers who shared an unique bond with the football. It seemed to follow me, literally do hysterics in the air to reach me not quite unlike the iron filings attracted by a powerful magnet. Back in the field it was a two on one situation, two of my best defenders against the best center forward in the league. The hunter was being stalked. Not for long though. He sold a dummy to the first defender and it soon looked like he was going to outrun the other defender. I didn’t want to make my move yet, let him come a bit closer. He was almost at the top of the box when I realized that it was now or never. It was the best opportunity to claim the ball as my own. I burst off my line, just as the second defender lunged forward desperately only to tackle thin air, as it was up to me now. I closed in on him alert of any attempt from him to chip the ball over my head at the slightest chance. I stumbled letting my guard down for a split second. That was all he needed; there he was going for the chip.

I regained my composure just as his foot made contact with the ball. To the horror of the home fans he had miscued the shot. Instead of sailing comfortably over my head, the ball almost apologetically dipped towards my feet, as the collective sound of thousands of people dejectedly slumping back into their seats emanated from the stands. I bent down gleefully with open arms to welcome the ball like one welcomes a lover who had a bad day at work being kicked around by people around him/her. This ill-fated love was however destined to go unrequited. The adulterous lover of a ball hit a bump in the ground and found its way through the gap between my legs and rolled over the dreaded white line to snuggle comfortably in the corner of the net far away from my reach. I was left rooted in an utterly awkward position, bent over and watching the ball through the gap it had so evidently left. The crowd erupted, but wait over those euphoric cries of the fanatical supporters I could hear another sound. Peals of laughter made their way to my ears completing my humiliation. Video clips of my slip up would be played over and over again in the days to come and autopsies conducted by the pundits of TRP hungry sports broadcasters; on why I had missed. It didn’t really matter though; nothing intelligible was registering in my mind anyways.

I close my eyes to try and refocus on the task at hand. Just yesterday my agent had told me that Real Arizona United, the best football club in the world had finally agreed to a 5 year $20 million contract. I was elated, I was rich and I was going to play for my dream club. Everything is just perfect, way too perfect. I open my eyes to see that Van Helsing, let’s call him that till I recall his name, has already dodged two defenders and is about to outpace the third. I have to leave my line and move forward to try and thwart his attempt. My body wants to move but I am rooted to the spot. Any super glue manufacturers who see me now will immediately sign me on for one of their commercials. Shrugging off the last defender Van unleashes a powerful shot. I dive instinctively, thankfully in the right direction. There is too much swerve on the ball, I am not going to get to it, I should have moved forward, but what if the ball had refused to come into my grasp again. An indecision I am going to regret or is it. Is there too much swerve on the ball, looks like there is a chance it might miss the net. It doesn’t really matter does it? I had not shown the guts to advance. Nothing else matters now and nothing intelligible is registering in my mind anyways.