Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Tuesday XI: Home For the Holidays Edition

By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Our week of seasonal celebrations continues here at The Other 87 with a special Tuesday XI featuring a cast of characters straight out of a typical holiday gathering. Naturally, we’ve lined them up in a 4-3-2-1, the Christmas Tree formation.

GK – Grandpa – Tries to stay out of the way (and more or less immobile until he’s absolutely needed.
LB – Your Significant Other– Does an admirable job each time out feeling her way through an unfamiliar role on a new team.
CB – Dad – Our older captain. Knows by now it’s necessary for him to jump into action and when to stay out of the way.
CB – Aloof Cousin – Only shows up because you're his only living relatives for three states in any direction. Does his job with a minimum of fuss, whether it be making tidy small talk or helping with the dishes.
RB – Youngest Child – Ahh, the weak link. Whether it’s a small cousin, young niece or nephew or even a baby sibling, you can’t kick the kid out of the game, but his or her presence can slow the game down when the ball’s in that zone. Best to tuck the little one over near the sideline where she doesn’t get plunked in the head with any stray shots.
LCM – Super Mom – The hardest working person of the holiday does the similar dirty work in the center of our midfield.
CM – You – The holidays can’t start without you, can they? Just as you’re the most important component of your family gatherings, you’re at the center of the action here, scoring goals and creating chances one minute and playing defense next.
RCM – Old Family Friend – An only child; when he heard there was a game he came right over.
LAM – Perfect Older Sibling – Gets to play the star role further forward, because it turns out he’s still better than you at everything.
RAM – Drunk Uncle – Crazy, unpredictable, dangerous. Alternates between barely paying attention the game and wreaking havoc on the field.
CF – The Family Dog – The ultimate scavenger, both under the table and in front of goal, The holidays are his time to shine, as more people, more booze, and possibly more small children mean more opportunities for him to pounce and put mistakes away.
About "The Other 87 Minutes"

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The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff

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