11 yards

A few weeks ago, I reported about my missed penalty kick in one of my Sunday soccer games. In that instance, we ended up winning and my shortcoming was rather forgiveable.

So today I had another game. 87th minute. We are down 2:1. I play a deep pass into the box and Chris, other forward gets knocked over by the keeper. Should have been a red card, but the ref was forgiving. Chris had to leave the field injured and someone had to take the damn penalty kick. And it was an important one for that matter. I immediately turned around and made clear that I didn’t want it. How bizarre, I used to live for the thrill of making penalty kicks and here I was: scared, intimated and without any courage. Unfortunately, nobody else had the courage to take the kick and fingers were pointed at my persona. I had to take to take the kick. And I still didn’t feel right about it. The ref placed the ball 11 yards from the goal and I indicated my willingness to kick. The keeper tried to freak me out and started moving right and left, trying to stare me down. I looked up once. Winked at the keeper and shot. Straight center and hard. The keeper had no chance. I had taken the hint by his constant moving around and knew that he was going to go right or left. Instead of picking a corner, I decided to just go for the middle. 2:2. The game was tied. Not bad, after being down 2:0 at half time. The team celebrated and I had regained my penalty taking confidence. What a day.