Why I Wear 14

cruyff6Back in the70’s when I was a kid growing up in Minneapolis MN we were hard pressed to find any sort of football. I’m talking proper football, not the incredible boring NFL type football. Yes there was the park and rec. in-house Edina soccer association, a bunch of scrub kids chasing a ball around once a week over summer break. To find real football the stuff of World Cup glory and European titles was, except for PBS Sunday showing of Soccer Made in Germany, impossible.

My first taste of Proper football was in 1976 when the Minnesota kicks came to town. I was hooked and as a 16 year-old and I was a season ticket holder. Yeah I went for the game not the tailgate party, though they were fun too. I drank in the sport. I was short skinny and not a very good athlete but I loved to play the game.

In the summer of 1977 or 78 someone got their hands on the official FIFA movie Heading for glory the story of the 1974 world cup game in West Germany. After watching the video I fell in love with the German National Team and Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff stole my imagination. I sucked at the game, I still do, but I love how Cruyff played the game so fluid so graceful yet so cunning. I tried and tried to emulate what I saw on that VHS tape. His first touch perfect, his vision of the field perfect. In my teenage head I would pretend I was Cruyff, until of course, I tripped over the ball doing his signature move and reality crashed down on top of me as I hit the floor. While I could never come close to making Cruyff’s moves mine I did adopt his number, #14. Even today when I kick around in the backyard in my old man head I see myself as Cruyff #14 and all.

 

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Learning the Art of Video

1986 Edina Boys Varsity Soccer

1986 Edina Boys Varsity Soccer

I have been on and off for the past thirty plus years, taking pictures and video of amateur soccer.  My focus has been on the teams and players I was coaching. I have to confess I am, at least I believe to be, a better coach than photographer. To be honest, though I enjoy photography I never spent the time diving into all the in’s and out’s of photography and it shows. What I have learned has come from trial and error and duplicating happy accidents.  For example almost 30 years ago I was shooting pictures of Edina High School’s Boy’s Varsity Soccer team’s championship game against Saint Paul Academy played at the Metro Dome. I remember shooting with slide film. To make things more interesting I had no idea how to set my camera up for proper exposure. The pictures were pretty pathetic. I was lucky that a few pictures kind of turned out. The few pictures that were not completely black have provided many guys who played on that Edina team some fond memories.

1986 Edina Boys Varsity Soccer

1986 Edina Boys Varsity Soccer

This past fall I had the opportunity to provide the Edina Boys Varsity team with an end of the season highlight video. I had a blast filming this team. While I made many mistakes I also learned a lot. In a lot of ways this turned out to be my favorite videos to date. The experience has inspired me to improve on  what I have learned and attempt to make next seasons video bigger and better.