Pet Please #4: When You're Not in the Wall

soccer-wall1I’ve played soccer ever since I came tumbling out of the womb. Played it my whole life. Love the game. There’s nothing better than taking a pass off the chest, dribbling past several players, performing triple rainbows culminating in a bicycle kick into the old onion bag. Yep. That never happened. But it could have.

However, there is one huge downside to playing organized soccer: Sometimes you get hit by the ball. Hard. I once took a ball in the face so hard that it knocked me to the turf. I braced for the fall with my wrist, which promptly broke.

Thus the very worst moment in soccer is when you know you’re going to get hit by the ball. When there is no doubt. Why do you know that? Because you’re coach told you to. That’s the job of the human wall. When there’s a penalty kick within range of the goal (but outside the 18-yard box), certain players are instructed by their coach to stand in a line so the ball hits off of them instead of continuing toward the goal.

It’s a dreadful thing, to stand in the wall. You cover your crotch, yes, but it doesn’t help that much. The trepidation is terrible. You begin to doubt why you’re even playing this silly game. Would it be so wrong for you to quit right then, to walk off the field and claim your Sunny D? Would anyone hold that against you?

And then you look over, 10 yards to your right, and there stands one of your fellow players. He’s well clear of the wall–his assignment is to guard one of the roving attacking players. At that moment, a millisecond before the ball is kicked, that man is the happiest man on earth. He knows how close he came to standing in the wall. And yet he is free. Free to roam the field without worry or concern. Free to live. Free to love.

If you want to know true happiness, join a soccer league, stand in a few walls, and then don’t stand in a wall one time. You’ll then know true happiness.

0 thoughts on “Pet Please #4: When You're Not in the Wall”

  1. Jamey, I think you and I make very good teammates! I actually have exactly the opposite thoughts about being in the wall. Anytime I’m in the wall, I think, “Oh good. Now I don’t have to cover someone and potentially be responsible for letting a goal in.” I get a certain satisfaction from getting hit with a free kick, then charging the ricocheted ball and beating the kicker to it, unfazed by his or her kick, as if to say, “Is that all you’ve got? You’re a sad, weak piece of crap who just blew a free kick, and now the person you just kicked the ball into is going to insult you by blowing past you with the ball, passing to a teammate downfield, and slapping you with the ultimate momentum changer. You were a free kick away from a goal, and now your team is going to be frantically chasing my team down the field. You might even give up a goal yourself. All because you blew it. You suck at life and the next time you go to take a free kick, you’re going to be rattled. You’ll probably wiff the ball, fall to the ground, and cry like a sissy.” Maybe it’s just me, but getting hit with the ball has always gotten me pumped up.

  2. I only played soccer for a year growing up (my only real experience other than the wonderful season spent with the Natural Lights indoor team) but being a fast, smallish sort of person, I thankfully was not ever on wall duty.

    But I did play goalie once at summer camp when I was 12 and this like 6’3″ manchild had a penalty kick, which I blocked, spraining my wrist. That ended my goalie career.

  3. Actually, I’m pumped up just reading my own comment again. I feel like doing something manly like killing an animal, moving something heavy, or blocking a free kick.

  4. Trevor–your comments may actually be more funny than Jamey’s entire entry. If only you had mentioned Sunny D. That would have sealed the deal.

  5. “There’s nothing better than taking a pass off the chest, dribbling past several players, performing triple rainbows culminating in a bicycle kick into the old onion bag. Yep. That never happened. But it could have.”
    Suuuure it could have.

    Also, I fear that being a female on the wall is a much worse situation. You might not think it hurts ridiculous amounts to get hit in the chest, but it does. And below too…once I took a direct kick to the crotch. I thought, “Well, looks I’m adopting from China after all.” And that was in pick-up!

  6. I used to ref women’s soccer when I was in high school…I saw a few hits that looked like they hurt. But the worst I saw were playing tennis when I was younger–at a time when the girls were starting to hit puberty. I’m guessing the breasts are more sensitive at the time, because I distinctly remember one girl getting hit there by a tennis ball, and she was in real pain.


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