Soccer Tryouts

October 16th, 2009 by ben Leave a reply »

This post has been permanently archived, as an important leaf in the tree of my life. Please enjoy this wacky post to your heart’s content.

Currently bingeing on banana-flavored milk while reflecting on my day. As usual, I like to remember how my day goes, so I can look back on my Sophomore life in my Junior year and be envious of myself.

Let’s rename my class schedule. The names don’t really fit.

  1. Sophomore English H / Villalobos = Watching Movies and Doing Math Homework
  2. PE / O’Brian = Euphemism for “Torture”
  3. Orchestra 3 / Forbes&England = Letting the World Hear How Much I Suck
  4. Pre-Calculus / Daniel = Comedy Show (feat. Hank Lin)
  5. Mandarin 4 / Hung = Naptime
  6. AP Physics / Zhang = More Naptime

Lol, I got 52/52 on the math test. That’s a failure, cuz I shoulda gotten 53/52. In AP Physics everybody thinks I’m like the class genius (I’m not… really; it’s not like I ever study for that class or anything), and Mr. Zhang ignores me when I nap in class. Napping in 6th period is really pleasant. It’s the perfect time of day for an afternoon nap. His room is warm, his chair is comfortable, and the atmosphere is pleasant.

Now that I think about it, usually I end up napping through the entire afternoon, Mandarin and Physics. Hahaha.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Now to write about the tryouts for Arcadia High School’s soccer team. Our soccer team isn’t particularly good. We’re not famous, we’re not league champions, and we might even be one of our region’s worst soccer teams. Perhaps I was misguided and slightly overconfident in trying out for this team.

First, I’ll start out with… why soccer?

I have always loved playing soccer. Ever since I was little, my parents let me play on the AYSO. Every weekend we would head over to Live Oak Park for a lively game of soccer. Two weekdays were designated as soccer practice days, and those lively hours are deeply etched into my heart.

However, I must make you aware: I was the worst player on the team. Always. In my, what, six plus years of AYSO soccer, I was never much of a player. I never really made any goals; only goals that people let me make. I never really contributed much to the team.

By the way, for some reason, even though I was always the worst player dragging down the team, all the teams I was in ended up doing really well. In one year, we were even League Champions (I know!).

So, there I was. The little freshman in the corner, watching all his upperclassman walk by. Nobody notices him. Nobody greets him. Of course not.

Sports teams. I always thought athletic team members were really cool. On their game days, they would walk around school, attend classes in their uniforms. Everybody would greet him with a friendly “hey” or an amiable punch on the shoulder. The teacher would smile and ask about how his team was doing, and he would engage in a lively conversation with everybody around him.

Perhaps it was that ability. That ability might have been… what I was, what I am really seeking. That ability… to be able to start a conversation with anyone. To be able to talk to strangers, do favors for them, and receive favors from them in return. To help others; to be sociable; show them respect yet treat them as if you had known them for your whole life.

Either way, I can talk about my inner uncertainties, my deepest anxieties, in detail later. This post was about soccer. I almost forgot.


I signed up for soccer team tryouts in my freshman year. Went to the meeting. However, I chickened out… well not entirely, I had something else to do on that Friday, so I didn’t attend the tryouts, and I got my transportation money refunded.

Sophomore year. Staring at the Athletics form. Soccer team. Yes? No?

“Hurry up and decide,” I thought to myself. “It doesn’t really matter, anyways. If you don’t want to, you can always quit and get a refund like last year.”

But something burned inside of me; that desire of which I have spoken of (see above). I wanted to be on the soccer team. I wanted to dress in that jersey. I wanted to be the one everybody went up to, the one everyone admired. I’m probably being somewhat selfish, somewhat egotistical; however, I’d really like to remember what my feelings were on October 16, 2009. Isn’t that what all my posts for?

Anyways, onto what happened today. Wow… I haven’t even started talking about today’s tryouts, and it’s already like a three-page essay. I pwn.


The entire day, I was wavering over this issue. I brought my cleats with me. I brought my shorts, I brought my short-sleeved comfortable shirt. I brought my determination. Off on a tangent, I grew a whole cluster of cold sores yesterday, and it really pissed me off the entire day. It made me look ugly, too.

Period 6. AP Physics. End of a long day. End of a long week. Friday. Last day. Weekends. Freedom. Anime.

However, it was not to be. My happiness was still a couple continents away.

I met up with a bunch of freshmen who were trying out for the team. It was a hot day. Too hot. Unbearably hot; yet I bore the heat. Thirsty? Tired? The soccer team of Arcadia High School casts aside those dejected feelings. Once practice starts, they drop their gear. They drop their homework, their textbooks. They forget it all, they head out, and do you know what they do? They play soccer.

Maybe that is the one thing in my life I will never be able to do. I was born to genius mother, genius father. Study, work hard, and go to the best college. Learn, innovate, improve society. Earn money. Change the world. Find happiness somehow in that jumble of responsiblities.

Play soccer? What a joke. Of course I can play soccer. I can play perfectly well. I might not be able to face off against a Hispanic jock kid, but I can hold my own against the average white kid. I’ve been playing for years. What are you talking about? Of course I can play soccer.

What are you doing here?

What… what are you asking me? I don’t quite understand.

What are you doing?

Are you here to play soccer? What are you doing? What are you doing right now?

As I stand on the dead green field. The fatigue has soaked in. The heat, too. Nobody on the team seemed to like me, either. Of course, none of them were Asians, but that shouldn’t matter. I see all of them flirting and talking dirty with Asian girls. The white kids, the black kids, the Hispanics have no problem associating. Maybe it’s not their problem. Why would it be? It’s me against them. Me against the Arcadia Soccer Team. Me against society. Me vs. world.

Why does it have to be like this? I might not be as good as you guys at this game, but I really love it! I respect how well you play! I think you are all really cool. You guys have the best in life, you enjoy your perpetual happiness every day. No worries about Honors or APs! All you need to care about is having fun! All you need to do is play hard and have fun! Your only two responsibilities in life! YOUR ONLY TWO!

Why, then? Why can’t you accept me? Why am I not suitable to talk to? Say “hey” to me! Greet me in the hallways! Chat with me, talk about anything! I know a lot. I have a lot of knowledge to share. Why does nobody care to hear? Why does nobody want to peer into my mind, to admire both the beauty and the shame?

These feelings, the whole, the entirety of it all; it cannot be expressed in a finite sequence of words. (Nor, do I think, are they representable with an infinite series formula.) Can nobody solve this problem? This is too challenging, even for a math Olympian’s mind. All we do is memorize formulas anyways, and I don’t know the formula for finding happiness, I’m afraid.

Perhaps this post is getting a bit too emotional. Maybe I’m being too honest. Maybe it’s time to put on that façade and let everything be normal again. My igloo of math and anime will keep me safe. I will be safe, always. What if the bright sun comes out? Will it melt my igloo? Will I be safe then?

Only time can tell. I’m sure it will not be cloudy for much longer. Just two more years, and then perhaps the sun will shine on me in college. Then I can melt away this igloo and find my peace and love. Wasn’t that the American idealism? Peace and love. PEACE AND LOVE!

Well, for now, let’s tone down the soliloquies and monologues here. Just for a moment. Alright. Let’s continue.


We started out with a simple two laps around the field, then some stretches and exercises. Nothing too tough (besides the fact that I still have a cold, and the hidden nose-wiping became extremely unsettling). Then we got out the balls. I helped drag out one of the extra soccer goals. It was heavy, and hard work, but it was still satisfying. I still felt positively about the tryout, at that time.

It was fun at first. We passed the balls, shot at the goal, defended and attacked. We worked on our teamwork, our skills, and they judged our soccer prowess.

Everybody there was a freshman. And yet, everybody there was better than me. By leagues and bounds (I realize this idiom is “leaps and bounds”, but please let me blog in peace). It wasn’t anything particularly surprising, or at least it shouldn’t have been.

And then this freshman comes up to me. He looks dumb. He probably gets C’s, even when he tries hard. I see no future in him. No impact on society. He may grow up to be some janitor in some corporate complex, or a McDonald’s clerk. Maybe at best he’ll be a roofing salesman or a window contractor.

Yet, he says, to me. He says to me. “What are you doing?

He says this to me. To me. He said it.

What am I doing, and what am I doing on this field? In these shoes? In this outfit? What am I here for? What do I hope to achieve by being here? What have I sacrificed to stand on this field right now? What do I get for my troubles? Will I make the team? Absolutely not. Will I get to know some of the members by talking to them during the tryout? No, I won’t. Do I have anything to gain? Anything to gain for trying out? Anything to gain for working my butt off doing this? Basically, as far as they’re concerned, I’m just here to shag balls for them. I can help move things around, do their grunt work for them. Is this really that interesting to you, to sacrifice your time, your youth, and your… anime… to be here shagging balls for them, and receiving for this work, only the feelings of shame and embarrassment?

Is it my fault?

Is it my fault in the first place? Is it my fault that I am not as good at soccer? Compared to these Hispanics? They go to the park, they play soccer for four hours every weekend while barbecuing and partying. Ever since they were two, they’ve probably been out on the field every week. Soccer probably flows through their blood. It makes up their soul.

It was then, I realized. What is my soul? What is my purpose in life? My goal? What am I seeking? What will bring me happiness, and how can I attain it?

I am young. I am young and have yet the energy to achieve my dreams.


Everybody wants things that they don’t have. If they had it, they would then begin wanting something different.

It’s human nature. I suppose we can’t help it, eh?

The grass on the other side of the hill always looks greener.

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  1. Andy says:

    Everybody wants things that they don’t have. “If they had it, they would then begin wanting something different.

    It’s human nature. I suppose we can’t help it, eh?

    The grass on the other side of the hill always looks greener.”

    Truer words have never been spoken… I suppose this is why so many people hate life, because they feel they don’t fit in, there’s no purpose to life.

    I guess I can start going all “religious” (although I hate the terminology) and talk about how God gives people purpose and helps us see the best in ourselves….

    But most people don’t want to hear it….

    This is where the search for life’s purpose begins. Don’t let it end until you’ve found the answer.

    Dude, I sound too philosophical now.
    Its scaring me too….

  2. Benji says:

    Being philosophical puts life into perspective.

    I suppose most of the people who read this currently don’t quite care for religion (except yourself). However, I wouldn’t be mad or anything if you wanted to rant about that kind of stuff.

    The “search for life’s purpose” eh? That’s one way to put it. Does the purpose of life need to be discovered? How long must the quest of discovery be?

    Or will your life’s purpose come to you yourself? One rainy night’s dream, a dream that you want to become reality. Your purpose, your desires, where do they come from? Where do they go? Why do they appear?

    I think this is the source of human success. Animals, previous lifeforms, they possessed the unique ability known only to man as “evolution”. Over hundreds, thousands, millions of years, living creatures could make small changes to themselves, adapting them better to the environment.

    However, what are humans? We are capable of much higher thinking, this is true, due to our much more highly-developed brains. This leads to a special ability no other living organism possesses: the ability to change oneself without requiring years and years of evolution and natural selection.

    We can think for ourselves, what would be advantageous, what would be comfortable? What would allow us to produce the most offspring? What will allow us to live the longest, and find the most happiness?

    Animals are unable to think like that. Animals can only enjoy what they are born with. We are not the same.

    You don’t need God’s word to explain this, but there are some feelings out there that cannot be expressed in man’s words.

  3. k says:

    Wow, we’re getting philosophical. And just yesterday we were like “Blah. I want to take a nap. Life sucks.” I actually have a lot to say, but I’m going to sleep soon, so I don’t have time. I’ll read this again tommorow, and come up with some long super philosophical comment. And the anime will be gone, so I won’t get thrown off. Seriously. That was totally out of place.

  4. Benji says:

    Thanks for the comments, everybody. The random anime part has been relocated to a happier home. ^_^

    Lol, everybody is too tired to post longer comments. And Hanchan is too lazy to ever post comments, heehee.

    It’s nice that we’re having educated discussion here.

    Instead of “LIFE SUKKXXX i wana nap”, right? Haha~

  5. Benji says:

    I’m sorry, everyone! Do I sound like some crappy protagonist from some anime? Yes? No?

    Something interesting is that, once I got home from the soccer tryout (with a smashed toe, a heavy heart, and the lifeforce forcibly removed from my frame), the anime episode I watched was about soccer, and featured the exact (well, not exact, but similar) same problems.

    It was an episode of Shugo Chara!, like episode 05 or so. The high school’s soccer team selects players for their next game, and the character of the day (hereon CotD for short) is not selected to play, and instead plays the role of a substitute, who will have almost no chance at playing in the big game.

    Shortly before, the protagonist shows our CotD how much he sucks, and the soccer team Captain is also so much better than he is. CotD-san wallows in depression, but summons the will to go on, practicing alone after everybody has left.

    On the day of the game, CotD is on the bench, watching everybody play. His extreme depression leads him to excluding himself socially from the other players, and pretty soon he begins to not care about the outcome of the game.


    “The geniuses. Can normal people ever hope to compare to them?”

    It’s true. Some people are naturally better at some things than other people. That makes them “geniuses” at that particular task. They don’t need to try to do extraordinarily well. Their talent lets them succeed.

    Can a normal person make a difference? He, who is not gifted with talent for a particular activity. He, who cannot bear comparing himself with others, and noting the large discrepancy. He, who has a wish. A dream. The desire to become… to become the genius.

    Is that possible? Can you really change your inborn personality, your given talents and failures? Everybody is good at some things, and bad at others. Can this be changed? Can CotD-san ever compare to the talented? Can I ever aspire to succeed in soccer?

    Please note, that this is an anime. While CotD-san is like contemplating suicide or something at the tender age of below 10, Protagonist Amu-chan shows up. And she does her magical girl stuff, purification, blah blah magical unlock whatever.

    And then, a player out there gets hurt, and CotD-san is called from the bench. With only one minute remaining on the clock, CotD makes a huge, awesome, impossible goal with milliseconds remaining on the clock.

    … of course, this will never happen in real life. It’s anime. Psh. Why do I always end up taking these kinds of things to heart?

    Either way, it was a rather interesting coincidence. The moral, I found enlightening as well. However, a clear “right” answer wasn’t given. 「なりたい自分」 — “naritai jibun” was how they described it. The “self” that I want to become. A different personality. A different talent.

    ~ Ben Li

  6. k says:

    Yep, educated discussion, lol. Which we’re all capable of, actually. Well, Ben, Tyuiop, myself, Hanning, and Tim at times. We just don’t show our intelligent, philosophical inside very much…

    Anyway, is there really a meaning to life? I don’t think there’s a definite answer. It’s not like Hitchiker’s Guide. I’m not sure how religious people think; do they believe God made a purpose? Well, I’m atheist, so I don’t think there’s any true meaning or purpose of life. However, everyone can draw their own meaning. After living, I think people do develop some idea of their own about life. Well, some people. Whether it happens and how long it takes depends on the person.

  7. Benji says:

    You wrote “Tyuiop” and “Andy”, haha. Fixed.

    As for a meaning of life, it depends on the person. Life might mean very different things according to a suicide bomber and the CEO of Google.

    Everybody does indeed draw their own meaning. Sometimes it doesn’t quite apply. People think they’re greater than they are, that they are going to achieve more in life than others.

    For example, an example of this was in the post, how I said that the random person who went up to me was never going to achieve anything worthwhile in life. That was implying I would become “great”. Perhaps that is applying a piece of my own opinion as to the meaning of… not the meaning of life, but the meaning of my life.

  8. Justin says:

    wall of text in the comments too?
    could some1 summarize?

  9. Benji says:

    Read or die.

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