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Why writers should love soccer…or at least give it a chance.

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soccer ball and cleatYes, the World Cup is over, but for my son and our family, soccer season is just beginning. I watched two matches this weekend, and while my son’s team lost both games, they were great games. It made me realize, as writers, we can identify with so much of the game.

I’ll admit. I love soccer. I’ve played it since middle school and still do, despite the injuries I seem to be racking up these days. So, when I write this, I am a bit biased. But, even so, there are some similarities between writing and this beautiful game that you should think about.

  1. It’s all about anticipation. Great soccer players anticipate. They anticipate where they want the ball to be and where their opponent does. Great reads from players mean cutting off a play before it even gets going. It’s all about reading the player and not the ball. What do we do as writers? Read our readers. We try to anticipate their moves, their needs, their thinking. We deliver based on what we think will happen on the other end. The good writers do this really, really well.
  2. Patience is key. No profession knows quite as well as writers that you can easily sit down for a 90-minute session and come out with nothing. Zilch. Zero. Total garbage. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t serious effort taking place. It just means sometimes you find the magic and sometimes you don’t.
  3. You can understand the game but have difficulty explaining it. Hello? Grammar rules. That’s all I’m going to say.
  4. Sometimes you see pure beauty. If you’ve ever sat down and watched the greats with a ball, you’ve seen works of art. Seriously. If you haven’t, check out this video of some fantastic footwork. When you see the best of the best, you are amazed.
  5. And, when you come across examples of real talent, you want to try it. Now, whether you want to admit it or not, if you watched any World Cup, part of you wanted to get out on the green grass and kick the ball around. Visions of step-overs and scissors were probably dancing in your head. I don’t know how many people have read a great book and at least had the thought of trying to write the next great novel, but I have to think it’s most. Coming across true artistry is inspiring, and that’s wonderful.

These are just a few that came to my mind. I’m sure there are more, and I’d love to hear them.

I don’t expect everyone to run out and pour their heart and souls into soccer after reading this, but I hope you’ll look at it from a different perspective and at least give it a chance. If you’re already a lover of the sport, olé!


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