Sunday, June 29, 2008


Another impressive turnout, even with the early start saw an exciting game back in the old 'hood of Trap Hagen's hallowed grass.

Yes, there was some hallowed grass on the field. More than when we played there regularly. But to be fair, most of the greenness was down to a mix of clover and other weeds and, while the goal area at one end was lush and verging on overgrown, the opposing goal was patchy at best, and parts of the midfield were billiard ball smooth. Then again, what are we? Synthetic Herbivores?

Ah, Trap! How we love you!

Several players took the change of venue, and a somewhat lighter-hearted attitude that comes with playing what is the closest to an away game as WSS will ever have, as a chance to experiment with their team colors. Among those that joined the team they would normally be playing against were Hock and Mark Miller, wearing white, while Keeble put on his blue shirt for probably only the second time since leaving Trap for Waldwick High in 2006.

The Blues got off to a flying start and by the time the White team registered their first shot on goal (a shot that went in - a Dan special that bent past Doug in the Blue goal) they were already down by four. Scott R played as an out-and-out striker, backed up by the muscle of Vince and some neat wing play from Dimos. The white defenders tried hard to maintain an offside trap, led by their Blue Team defector Hock, but it was caught out time and again, albeit with a few dubious calls in the mix. Doug's booming goal kicks were tormenting the white back line and his command of his area was leaving the white strikers praying for a mistake. Even when a rare shot beat the 'keeper, the frame of the goal bailed out the Blue team with no less than three certain goals pinging off the crossbar and away to safety.

When Steve opted out of the White goal and took up a position at right back, Justin went between the pipes for the Whites and with some unconventional play managed to stem the gaping holes the Blues were exploiting. That change gave the Whites the chance to pull back a few goals, led by Scott P, Tom D and Dan (again.)

The heat was intense, and when play was called at 10:30 there were few complaints, even from the Whites who were in touch of pulling out a win that had looked unlikely for the first hour of play.

Final Score - Whites 8 Blues 6

Man-of-the-match: Doug. A goalkeeping clinic and several assists with his long goal kicks.

Monday, June 23, 2008


The early forecast for Sunday is hot and wet, so I think an 8:30 start is probably in order. It doesn't seem to be affected attendance in any way, so why not?

I will be there anxious to make up for the end of my Lou Gehrig-esque run of consecutive games that came to an end last Sunday because I couldn't get someone to watch the kids that early on a Sunday. I also intend to start a Joe DiMaggio-esque run of games where I score, starting in this next game and ending when I'm Frank's age and considering retirement.

"The REAL Iron Man"


As I wasn't playing (although I was there) I won't be filing a match report. I'm hoping Hock can come up with something. In the meantime, here's an action shot.

Bucky, Bobby, Doug and Keith anxiously await the corner kick as Tom feels the squeeze.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

WSS HALL OF FAME: #1 Babak Azimi

Anybody who played on the same field as Babak Azimi will have some fond memories of the Iranian striker.

I haven't done the research into whether the offside rules are the same in Iran as the rest of the world, but Babi's entire career with Waldwick Senior Soccer would indicate they are either wildly different or non-existent. Or, more likely, Babi just didn't pay attention to them.

A typical blue attack from 2003-2006 would build from the middle, lead to a through-ball or cross, and then deflate as the ball reached Babi. He would either jump for the ball, shielding his face with his arms and commit a handball, swing a leg at the cross with his eyes closed and miss with unintentional comedy timing, or tap the ball in unmarked - because he was at least twelve yards offside.

Oh, how the White defenders loved him as they stood there, arms in the air in a line as Babi ruined attack after attack with his very loose grasp of what "offside" actually meant.

And how the Blue midfielders hated him as chance after chance went begging when the ball ended up at his feet (or hands.) All this combined with the most glamorous pair of silver cleats on the field. He would say they were the only ones in his size when he tried to buy a pair in Times Square at three in the morning. All they did was draw attention to his runs and their glaring color meant it was easy to track exactly how far his toes were behind the last defender when the ball was played to him.

That said, then there were the times when he couldn't miss. On his day, he was more than just a garbageman, picking up rebounds (though he could certainly do that too.) He would skip and dance by defenders and tuck shots past the 'keeper with precision - just making the Blue midfielders curse him more. He could do it when the mood took him, but his happy-go-lucky demeanor meant he would blow hot and cold from week to week.

And yet, despite all the animosity towards Babi during a game, there was no player more affable off the field. He was always smiling, always laughing, always offering praise and reassurances after misses while just shrugging his shoulders after one of his own tame shots dribbled wide.

At the final whistle of Babi's last game at Waldwick High, before he upped and moved to the West Coast, he was presented with a pair of linesman's flags signed by Blue and White team alike before we headed to Nellie's for drinks. He is the only player WSS have honored in this way.

In 2006, just before his move, someone who worked with Babi and who knew he played soccer, asked a WSS player: "Is Babi a good player?" The reply was: "He's a great guy." On his day, he was both.

When he turned up out of the blue for a one-off appearance while back on the East Coast he proved he hadn't lost any of the abilities that made him a WSS legend. And he will always be welcome to take the field with us again.

Monday, June 16, 2008


There's no way I will be at the game next Sunday (on the turf, 8:30 start to avoid the xxxtreme heat) unless the kids age 20 years and move out before Saturday night. Therefore we have two job vacancies:

WHITE TEAM STRIKER WANTED! Must be able to miss chances from more than two feet, trip over ball while attempting to control it, chase ball like headless chicken but with even more futility. English accent preferred (though camp stereotypical gay accent acceptable - not many people can tell the difference.) Experience of keeping account of goals scored (by self, not team) essential. Under 270lbs and 6ft, please bring blue shirt just in case.

MATCH DAY REPORTER WANTED! Must be able to recall memorable match day incidents for reporting later in the day. Must be able to insult everyone without making it sound like you are. Writing experience required (though if you can write your own name, you are probably overqualified.) Blue team perspective welcomed, just to see how the other half lives.

Applications for both positions welcomed!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Last week was hot, this week was a joke.

As sweat dripped on to an already slick field, the white team threatened to run away with things in a 14-a-side match up. But when cooler heads called time on the perspiration fest, the blue team had pulled within striking distance of a huge comeback.

It might have been a day for father's but the heat was a mother. The white team shot out of the blocks and at one point led 6-1. This was down to a couple of reasons - the five man forward line that was tormenting a defense that couldn't cope, and the rub of the green in front of goal. Three of the first four goals the whites scored were:

1) an own goal
2) a cross from Dan that drifted into the far corner
3) a deflection off Keeble's gut from about an inch-and-a-half

Speaking of Dan, he was unstoppable. Yes, the ball fell to him often, but his finishing was unsurpassed.

While the white team had a combination of John and Ken guarding the onion bag, Doug took up his usual stance on the 25 yard line as the last line of defense. This cavalier approach to keeping paid off - none of the goals he conceded came from outside the area (except one that was disallowed when Doug was checking on the health of a fallen Keeble and some opportunist stabbed one in from the 30.)

Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps it was the rush of testosterone caused by the annual celebration of manliness. Perhaps it was because we were playing in humidity soup on a field slicker than a Hockenbeck backheel. Whatever the reason, the injuries piled up thick and fast.

Bobby, still wearing his badge of honor and sporting a shiner from last week's incident, started the game walking wounded, but finished with a flourish. That couldn't be said for Keith nor Jody who limped off after falling and neither returned. Bilow, so often at the wrong end of a rash challenge, managed to survive but took his time getting up at least six times.

Talking of Bilow, he was just one of six Johns on the field of play today. Aside from Bilow, there was John, John, John, John and John. Surely some kind of record!

Despite the superiority, the blues nearly came a cropper. Led by Scott's booming shots (as always) and Moe, the general in the middle of the field leading by example, the scores were nearly level after an hour at 7-6. By full time, at the point where only the strongest pack mules weren't ready to pass out, the score was 11-7 in favor of the whites. It was certainly a poor reflection of what seemed to be an evenly-matched game.

Final Score - Whites 11 Blues 7 (more or less... it might have been 8)

Man-of-the-match: Dan. At least 4 goals, and every one a cracker.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Gentlemen -

We, as fathers*, get one day a year. This Sunday is our day.

If your wife/the mother of your children doesn't wake you up with a bacon sandwich, coffee, a good ******* (though there's no such thing as a bad one), then clean your turf shoes and give you a playful slap on the butt as you leave for the field and promise they'll help you wash all the sweat off when you come home after the game, they are committing a FELONY and should be reported to the nearest FBI headquarters for re-conditioning.

It might be worth considering an 8:30 start too, given that it's currently hotter than the surface of the sun and that's unlikely to change all week. Ball boys/girls get paid double if there's a heat advisory warning in effect. Grandfathers get a two-goal bonus prior to kick-off.

Might I also add that I am in the midst of my longest goal-scoring drought in a calendar year (two successive games without scoring... not even a rebound from six inches) and that this WILL be rectified on Sunday (probably with a rebound from six inches.)

* If you are not yet a father, there's still time to at least be a father-to-be, and that would count. Good hunting.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Only mad dogs and Englishmen, so they say, go out in the midday sun.

It wasn't midday, but there were plenty of mad dogs and one Englishman on display in such intense heat, most area thermometers turned in their badges.

A full compliment of players made for a lot of entertaining and a constant commentary of how effing stupid we are playing in 90+ degree heat at a time when most people our age are still in bed. After Keeble missed his fifth glorious chance in the first five minutes, he considered a return to bed quite seriously.

Meanwhile, Keeble's brother-in-law, the flame-haired Bobby, was causing havoc and ended his debut with two goals - one a six inch tap-in and one a feat of real skill and a placed finish. This will be his last appearance in a WSS match as I'm not asking him back again, unless he wears white.

Doug in the blue goal put on a masterclass. If he was Portuguese, or some other Europeanese, there is no doubt he would be playing in Euro 2008 right now instead of Waldwick. Jay was denied at least twice; a point blank save with his gut and a finger tip over the bar were the best of a fine bunch.

Dr. Sal, meanwhile, earned his stripes in the campaign. Though still prone to laying down in the middle of plays to stretch his hamstrings, he donned a headscarf and administered his medical touch when Bobby, the stalwart Blue defender, went down after a clash of heads with a third-degree concussion and lost fourteen pints of blood. Naturally, being Bobby, he went back to his car for a bit of a sit down, then returned to action five minutes later, albeit patched up by the good Doc.

As Sal played M*A*S*H, Jay was mashing in goals from all angles. The onion bag was calling as he ripped in shot after shot that ripped into the corners. Kevin also put in a note-worthy performance in the white goal as he kept the score down and provided many long balls for the white forwards to cash in on.

The quality was right up there, which considering the conditions was astonishing.

A draw was a fair result. But we don't do fair, so we played until the Blues scored the decider and then most sensible people went home. Bobby M was last to leave to field, angry he had been denied five minutes of playing time with his injury that earned him a purple heart for being wounded in action.

FINAL SCORE: Blue 5 White 4

Man-of-the-match: Doug. Jesus saves... but Doug has a better command of his area.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


As Joe has informed everyone via e-mail, after a few disruptions and trips back to the old 'hood (the ploughed fields of Trap Hagen) we are now back to 9am starts every Sunday at Waldwick High until further notice.

Also note, while I am playing on Sunday morning I cannot risk an injury as I've promised Bob Bradley I will be available for selection for the USA against Argentina on Sunday night. This despite me being: 1) a bit shit and 2) not actually a US citizen. That said, if Landon Donovan is out with a sore arse or something, I'm ready and my arse is in perfect shape (in fact it's the shape and size of a hot air balloon.)

Keeble #6
First member of the "WSS 4,000 Goal Club"

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Good news! Waldwick Senior Soccer is alive and kicking!

Bad news! That was at 10:30 this morning! Several players are now in hospital nursing heat stroke, sunburn (mainly to balding extended foreheads) and arthritis!

Indeed, on a day where an early start didn't bode well an unexpected full-sided game broke out, along with some spectacular goals, the return of some old fan-favorites and a record thirty-nine disputed offside calls.

In other words, business as usual for the blue and white.

Picture the scene - 8:30am and already 85 degree in the shade. Six old men who should have been getting ready for church ask themselves: "Why are we here?" The prospect of three-on-three fun (and not in a freaky-naughty way) loomed and the lacrosse goals were dragged across the field.

By 9am, just after Vince showed up with a "huh?" written all over his face, we had a 12 v 12 soccer game underway in the soaring heat. It took eight months, but this was what it's all about.

Early exchanges were marred by reports FIFA were investigating the birth certificate of a 4'9" midfielder who swore he was 30 - and so did his dad - but after he took the ball off Frank for the fifth time, he was welcomed with open arms and the FIFA investigators sent back to Geneva to eat Toblerones and make cuckoo clocks.

Further early incidents were not pretty with a ringer, who nobody invited to play and only lasted 10 minutes anyway, nearly got into fisty-fisty with Dimos. Equally unattractive, but more typical of proceedings, was Keeble's opening goal - a sliding-bottom-of-the-left-cleat-dribbler into the back of the granny's hairnet from four inches to open the White account for the day. Sadly it was the last time the ball would pass Doug in the blue goal for about an hour, when he let one more in thus amassing his total of goals conceded for the day.

Far more attractive was the return of Romario, fresh from Guantánamo Bay. Unfortunately, his parole stipulated he wasn't allowed to score, run or pass the ball, so he was denied glory on his welcome comeback. John Bilow's return was also both a blessing and long-overdue. On the downside he couldn't add a spectacular goal to his comeback performance, but he was able to walk off the field unassisted at full time which has to be a plus given his history of injuries.

Joe also made a return to shore-up the blue backline, but any compliments about his game would have to be offset by the gaseous discharges coming from his rectum. When a flock of geese flew overhead and tried to crap on him, they weren't being mean - they were trying to join in, but didn't have Joe's control skills.

While Scott was pounding in a barrage of goals into a largely unguarded white net, Frank's infamous Doctor Sal managed to injure every part of his body and was as effective as a wool condom as the minutes ticked away. Bound by his hippocratic oath of doctor-patient confidentiality he was able to pass to Frank, but not tell him the pass was coming. And while he doesn't take Medicare, he is clearly a friend of the Blue Cross/Blue Shirt network, such were his number of passes to those players on the opposite team. A determined Doctor Sal played to the bitter end, but should probably take his own advice and take a couple of Advil and go to bed for a week or two before attempting another comeback.

Oh, and here's a note to all the blue and white defenders alike:

Commiting an Offside Offence
A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

interfering with play
interfering with an opponent
gaining an advantage by being in that position

Hope that clears things up for you, chaps.

FINAL SCORE (more or less): Blue Team 6 White Team 2

Man-of-the-Match: SCOTT (Blue) - Hat-trick and sarcastic abuse for all.