The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
You’ve seen it already, I’m sure, but then, that’s part of the point: David Beckham’s 70-yard goal against Kansas City last Saturday night wasn’t so much a moment in a soccer game as it was a discrete highlight clip, destined to be scrubbed of its situation and played out of context, endlessly. It aced the checklist that tells TV producers when a goal is a big deal: world’s most famous player (check), improbable scenario (check), long-distance shot (check), weird repeat of a moment from earlier in a storied player’s career (check). Having everything, it was a sure bet to be admitted into that twilight-soft messianic zone that both the soccer and the non-soccer media reserve for moments that “could be just what soccer in America needed.”
Is this actually an exciting goal, though? Obviously the shot is very well-struck from the distance and the situation it grew out of is rare enough to be interesting. But the ball just kind of puttered along, right into the undefended net. It left me thinking, “Yeah, that’s why goalkeepers don’t join the attack more often” rather than “What a brilliant piece of play from Beckham.” Am I alone here? If someone other than Beckham had taken the shot, would the roses have fallen as thickly?
by Brian Phillips · May 27, 2008