The Eighth Page

Cluster Soccer

As a student at Phillips Academy, I take a lot of things very seriously. Activities and hobbies I take seriously are not your typical Andover student college-application-padding academics, leadership and community service. I do put a lot of effort into those things, but a good portion of the day you just have to put these things aside and think about what really matters in life. After close examination, I have arrived at a conclusion. Soccer is the most grand, exhilarating sport ever imagined, cluster soccer in particular. My primary extracurricular activity at Andover is cluster soccer. Without it, life would have no purpose. Allow me to go through a day in the life as a professional cluster soccer player. After a long day of doing things other than cluster, like doodling and napping, I am finally free to prepare myself mentally for the importance of the challenge, if it can even be called a challenge, that lies ahead. Because I need the extra time to change and relax before the big game, I always cut my seventh period class. I go back to my room, get my game clothes on, load up iTunes, play the pump up mix, and get jiggy wit’ it. Sooner or later I realize that the time is now 3:23 because the newly reconstructed bell tower is playing some sort of strange, horrific tune. I am eight minutes late, schmeight schminutes schmate. The rest of my team is probably practicing, but it doesn’t matter because I don’t need to practice anymore. I am Ronaldo Jr.; I am perfect in every way. As I approach the lush Rafferty fields, echoes of my favorite CD, locker room mix #3, can be heard. This is game time. As I enter the standless stadium, roars and cheers of the multitudes of fans empower me. My nameless opponents shiver with fear. The knowledgeable referees inspect players for illegal equipment like silenced pistols and maces. Who knew that math teachers and teaching fellows were also professional referees on the side? The games begin, but I am stuck on the sideline because coach says he wants me to build up my aggression. No way to treat a star. The cleats of all soccer players grab my attention. At this level of competitiveness, shoes make and break a player. For this reason, all players get their soccer cleats from the finest of sellers. Currently, the man with this honor is Blaine, a merchant of fine leather shoes imported from a clearance rack of a nearby shoe store. They may be a little pricey, costing a crisp, clean Hamilton ($10), but they carry unmatched quality and value. Classy, refined gentlemen of the class of 2006 read issues of Gentlemen’s Quarterly on the sidelines, itching for some play time. Their desperateness is futile because no one is willing to sub out while angry. Tempers fly all over the field and profanities slip from the mouths of teenagers. There are no rules in cluster soccer except for offsides and out of bounds, making for some sweet plays. Player moral is raised by cheerleaders on the side lines doing a dance routine to “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Why would anyone have enough courage to play cluster soccer? The answer, for me at least comes in the form of females and jewels. Throngs of groupies and soccer babes surround me as soon as I exit the stadium, making it impossible for me to get back in my Bentley and drive home. There is also the possibility that I will earn my team a massive championship ring with 26 carats of every gem known to mankind on it. As the star of the Lower Team, which is bizarrely called TNT, I often feel the pressure from teammates and fans to score multiple hat tricks in a single game. I know what you are thinking, “How did I get so good (looking)?” Practice, my friends, practice and, of course, some natural born talent is how I became such a soccer star. After our match and during weekends, I have private practice with the Brazilian football superstars. Tired after a good match or two of what we like to call, “World Tour Soccer,” I throw in the towel and turn off Will Hunckler’s ’08 PSP.