Mark Brown

What a treat: Getting paid to get my kicks

Here's the deal. I spent most of Wednesday playing soccer and watching the World Cup semifinal match on television instead of doing real work, and now I need to write a column to justify it.

It's not quite as bad as I make it sound. I was playing in the Chicago Fire's Media Day game at Toyota Park, and afterward I watched the Spain-Germany contest while interviewing Fire owner Andrew Hauptman about the team's future.

I took notes the whole time and everything, as if it were a real work assignment, but some of you will see right through that, so there's no sense pretending. I sure wouldn't want to end up on Rod Blagojevich's list of bullspitters.

You see, unlike so many sportswriters, I actually like soccer. In fact, I would even go so far as to say, "I love this game," if that slogan weren't already taken.

And unlike another news columnist in town who devotes a lot of ink to soccer, I actually get out there and play the sport, though admittedly not very well.

The difference is that he's lucky enough that his kids still play soccer while mine quit at a young age, forcing me to take to the pitch myself to work out my aggressions instead of yelling from the sidelines.

That was four years ago, and I can say without fear of rebuttal that at age 55, I continue to be the worst player in the Park District of Oak Park's Sunday co-ed league.


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