Top 10: Top 10 Plays, Number Eight

September 30, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Ginger Russ

This morning I was watching SportsCenter (yes, people do still watch this show) and caught the regular and popular feature, the Top 10 Plays of the Day. It's not an original idea, every sports columnist, show and blogger has their lists of greatness and power rankings. But not the Saloon. This got me thinking, the Top 10 Plays are always the same "types" of plays. Sure, once in a great while you may have a new record in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest that gets on, or possibly a Nascar highlight, but for the most part you really aren't seeing anything that hasn't been done before. And so I bring to the Saloon a Top 10 list of my own.

8. Goal from outside the penalty box (soccer).

As with hockey, soccer (or football as some foreigners call it) is rarely seen in America, so it's amazing plays lack the known difficulty factor that would push it higher up the list. But every once in a great while a soccer highlight will creep into the Top 10 Plays of the Day.

While most of the bartenders at the Saloon have a decent knowledge of the happenings in the soccer world (and by decent I mean they watch a couple games a year of the English Premier League and call themselves "fans"), I don't follow the sport at all. And it's not that I don't want to, but unfortunately most of soccer is about as exciting as watching the grass grow in my lawn, which is to say that I live in the desert and don't have a lawn, just dirt and rocks.

The odd thing is that I used to play soccer as a yute, my dad coached YMCA, and I would go see the local college team play every weekend. While NIU was not the elite of the NCAA soccer world, they did play higher level schools and for the most part they could hold their own. But as I grew older and stayed the same height while my peers were sprouting up around me, my dream of becoming the goalie for the Chicago Sting slowly faded, as with my interest in soccer. Like most Americans, my greatest memories of soccer take me back to kindergarten, running around in a crazed pack with 21 other rug rats while we all tried to just randomly kick a round ball. The highlight of the day of course was getting oranges and Capri Sun during half time and going to McDonald's afterwards for chicken nuggets and chocolate shakes.

But this post isn't just about me, it's about the Top 10. As I've explained, for the most part Americans think soccer is pretty boring. Unlike hockey, which also includes a lot passing and back and forth of possession, soccer lacks the possibility of fighting, and so the only excitement comes in the form of the scoring. But when you think about it, some of the things that these guys can do with a soccer ball are pretty amazing. The most creative are the long goals taken from outside the penalty box. As the ball twists and dips like a Marmol slider, these shots are impossible for the goalie to stop, and thus their magical trajectory makes these plays great inclusions for the Top 10 Plays. Adding to the mystique of the goal is the announcer's call, "GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!", which makes the play seem as if it was the greatest thing to ever happen since the invention of the Goreo. Then the player will usually run around for a while, rip off his jersey and his teammates will all jump on him and fellate congratulate him.

So by taking more skill to achieve than a hole-in-one and having more of a "wow" factor than the hat trick, the long goal ranks numero ocho in my Top 10: Top 10 Plays of Sports.

Ginger's greatest #8: Like I said, I know very little about soccer, but I would have to say this one is pretty impressive: