We did all the prerequisite checks. Doors and Windows safely secured. Lights dimmed. Energy drinks on hand. Joystick well calibrated. With the rest of our gang making up for a crazy audience behind us, it all setup for a perfect contest. As usual I and my friend were engaged in a one on one football dueling session. We took our usual positions… in front of the computer screen. What?!! If you thought all this build up lead to something as trivial as a gaming session, you are wrong. In due course of my article, I shall show what my fellow gaming maniacs would unanimously agree. Unlimited passion for the game!
I chose my favorite team, Manchester United. My opponent took a bit of time. He contemplated a lot before eventually opting for what unarguably is the strongest team available. Classic world XI! (I did a small double take) But I didn’t argue with his choice. The two of us exchanged pre match pleasantries. (We are not related to Evra/ Suarez/ Ferdinand/Terry) The referee blew his whistle so did our audience whose role can’t be stressed enough! The game started. Real players take some time to find their feet; I took some minutes to find my hand! I like to keep possession of the ball playing it back to my defence. (Though the team I support doesn’t employ such tactics) My opponent is an equally passionate player. Though not quite a gaming freak, he has since quickly learnt the art of slide of tackling. Early tackles unnerved me. Slide tackles afterall was my forte. If you thought Pepe, Nigel de Long or even Paul scholes were good at it, I am even more gifted! I don’t mind the coloured cards. On one occasion, I was reduced to 8 men. But never mind as long as you have the referee for he is always safe. You just can’t hit him! It is the opponents who are the targets. Having said, I would like to urge EA Sports to consider it. Referees hit by a blinder! That will be a scene.
Coming back, the audience was getting quite restless. My Arsenal friend was ridiculing me for playing a boring game. My Juventus friend had his own agenda. But then slowly the goals slowly started to come. My opponent likes to take the ball and just keep running to the opposite side. If ever there was a button he likes, it is sprint. I would say to him, Usain Bolt can’t sprint quite like you. But then that was the precise problem. I make a ‘well timed tackle’ that gives me the ball but sends the opponent flying. I employ my favoured wing play. Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashely Young… all these players are adept at it. I dribble to the near post and just when the opponent anticipates a through ball or cross, I cut inside and smash the ball past the keeper. The goal keeps coming but my opponent doesn’t lose heart. He is particularly good at counter attack. He pegs back but then I remind him his place.
The referee blows the final whistle. The crowd jeers for they don’t like the end result. By the time we ended, we barely broke sweat. But then we broke pretty much else. I don’t know when my bench will collapse due to me banging it repeatedly. The postmatch handshakes done, my friend anguishes the fact that he was left without Joe Hart. I gently remind him “Sir, You have an average squad rating of 92. A single player can’t make much difference.”