Delaney: Perspective on a disappointing game
I am probably more inclined to take this position when action on the field is difficult to watch. In sports there are winners and losers, and somehow I always feel worse for the losing team than I feel joy for the winners.
I think you’d agree if you'd seen Nick Roberts last week. Roberts is a sophomore on the Holland Patent boys soccer team, and Wednesday afternoon he experienced an on-field disappointment I can only imagine.
Roberts missed a shootout-round penalty kick in a Section III playoff game Wednesday against Manlius-Pebble Hill. Roberts' PK would've tied the shootout. Manlius-Pebble Hill's goalkeeper made a great play on the stop and Holland Patent's season ended.
Roberts walked off the muddy field with his jersey pulled over his head as MP-H players rushed past to celebrate with keeper Jordan Gentile.
The shooter in a penalty kick has the advantage of knowing what he is going to do with the ball. The keeper is left to guess, and Gentile guessed right with a sliding deflection.
Roberts’ miss wasn’t the reason Holland Patent did not advance, though he probably didn't feel that way late Wednesday afternoon. Augie Allen tied the game for the Golden Knights in the second half by being in the right place at the right time. M-PH looked more skilled, but Holland Patent hung in and forced overtime. The Golden Knights had chances to score and failed to capitalize during regulation and through two sudden-death overtime sessions.
Holland Patent coach Ron Haier said after the game he didn’t know what to tell his players when they talked. Before the game Haier asked his players to essentially “leave it on the field,” and afterward the coach was satisfied they did that.
So where does that leave Roberts? I’ve thought about him for several days. He felt so badly after the miss he hid his face from his teammates and coaches. I wish for him the benefit of time will put the game in perspective.
I want to tell Roberts a game on a playing field does not compare with a loved one’s illness or a young mother leaving her family to serve in Afghanistan. Those are the realities that should make us stop and think about what is important.
I want to tell Roberts that. But after seeing his disappointment, I’m not sure I believe it.