Sunday, April 12, 2009

Breakers Score in A Big Way With This Guy

As a boy, I used to spend each Saturday afternoon in pretty much the same way. After a morning filled with Speed Racer, Josie and The Pussy Cats, and Scooby Doo, I'd make myself a bologna sandwich and a cup of chicken soup and plop myself in front of the TV set.

Even though my television line up would never change, I'd grab the TV Guide and circle my Boob Tube schedule. From Noon to 1:00, I'd watch Vince McMahon, Andre The Giant and Chief Jay Strongbow and the World Wide circus they referred to as Wrestling.

From 1:00 to 2:00, I'd lace up my roller skates, take out my front teeth and settle in for an hour of hard hitting action/trash talk brought to you by the United States Roller Derby Federation.

For the better part of a sixty minutes, The Kansas City Bay Bombers would whip themselves by the jam of the Gotham City Girls and rack up points using some sort of unintelligible scoring system.

I'm not 100% sure if it was the trash talking toothless gals with the facial hair that intrigued me or seeing chicks actually slapping, punching and clawing each other that grabbed my imagination. I just couldn't get enough of it.

So when I hooked up with Greta Tella, the Marketing Manager of the Boston Breakers, who was promoting the team at the Worcester Sharks Hockey game, I have to admit I was psyched. "Roller Derby on Grass", I thought.

The Boston Breakers Womens Soccer Team is the local entry into the New Womens' Professional Soccer League. Greta gave me a bumper sticker and Boston Breakers program and I headed in to watch the Sharks. I'm a hockey guy. A baseball guy and I guess to some degree a roller derby guy.

But soccer? Chicks playing soccer? C'mon.

I had played soccer as a kid. My friends would pass, juggle, head the ball and shoot and I was the neighborhood fat kid that they'd torpedo the ball at.

And I have watched my share of Men's Soccer. There is no event on the globe that rivals the energy of the World Cup and there is nothing that makes my adrenalin flow like seeing Liverpool wipe up the field against Manchester United.

I guess I've even seen women's soccer before. What guy doesn't remember Brandi Chastain exposing her undergarments after the 1999 Women's World Cup?

But a Women's Soccer Game? A Women's Soccer League? This is going to be awesome. I assumed I'd see something that fell between school yard kick ball and Jello Wrestling.

The Breakers opened their maiden season on April 6th in Santa Clara, CA against the FC Golden Pride. The match was the first ever match for both teams in the newly launched Soccer League.

I was relegated to watching the game on TV as my wife, Kate, felt that a trip to Santa Clara was unnecessary. She always ruins all my fun.

However, I was ready for action and truly intent on giving the sport a fair chance. I sat in front of the wide screen, with a plate of Tostitos gobbed with gooey orange cheese and salsa. Dressed in my new Blue and White Breakers Jersey that I had bought from the Breakers Pro Shop, I was ready for action.

The stadium was filled with energy reminiscent of the Olympics as, 6,497 men, women, boys and girls from ages 3 to 73 flowed through the turn styles of Buck Shaw Stadium. Fans cheered loudly and waved the teams colors passionately before the opening kick was launched.

Being the maiden game for the newly formed league Opening Ceremonies filled the stadium with energy and hundreds of popping flash bulbs from the well attended stands.

And then it happened. For the next 90 minutes I was enthralled. I was entertained. I was mesmerized. I was glued to the television set. Up and down the field action for the better half of two hours dominated play. I was hooked.

The team work displayed by the two teams was truly fine art. Skilled passing, deft foot work and high energy rushes to the net were reminiscent of the skill level I had witnessed while watching footage of Pele, David Beckham and Cristiano Renaldo.

The action was truly non stop. Up and down the field the two teams battled each other much in the same way The Bruins battle the Canadiens. If you like hockey, you'll love soccer. If you like men's soccer you'll by highly impressed by Women's Soccer. And if you love the action of the WNBA, you'll be amazed by WPS.

Every once in a while, Kate would come into the living room to ask me to quiet down. Tostitos were every where. I swore at the refs. I rooted for Kristine, Abby and Amy. I ooohed with every kick that sailed wide and aaahed at each corner kick that was tipped over the cross bar by the keeper. I even second guessed Coach Tony Dicicco despite not knowing an off-sides from a goal kick.

I ran daughter, Kaitlyn's room to make sure she was watching. She was. She watched well she text messaged her Monty Tech soccer teammate Abbey, who watched equally intently. For the girls this was a magic moment.

The miles that they ran and the skills that they gained during the fall soccer season at Monty Tech was being legitimized before their very eyes. I could see from Kaitlyn's wide eyes that this was a moment she would never forget.

She shooshed me every time I asked her to explain how soccer offsides differed from hockey and told me to go back upstairs when I threw off my shirt ala Brandi when Breaker's Kelly Smith knotted the score at 1-1 in the 79th minute of play.

The Breakers lost the game 2-1 on a G-O-O-O-A-A-A-L-L-! in the 90th minute by FC Gold forward Tiffany Milbrett. I'm sure the gals from Beantown were disappointed. Kaitlyn slammed her pink and white soccer ball against her closet door.

But I truly didn't care. I know I can get the TV fixed where the bowl of cheese sauce hit the screen. I hope to have it fixed before the next game.

This wasn't roller derby, Josie and the Pussycats or even Mud Wrestling. This was Sport. Action. Passion.

"Hey, Katie. Do you know where my Breakers Jersey is? Me and the guys have tickets for the Home Opener. And sweetie, can you take down my Roller Derby poster. I'm getting me a Kristine Lilly."

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