Category: Soccer

I Am Dr. Michael Brown, Optometrist; I Am Not @plutokiller

My name is Dr. Michael Brown, aka “Mike the Eyeguy,” and I’m an optometrist who has always loved Disney characters and small, remote planets.

I would never kill Pluto. I may be more of a Goofy Man myself, but I have no interest in dissing  Mickey Mouse’s lesser-known pet pooch. Nor have I supported demoting poor little Pluto from the status of noble, outermost outpost planet, guarding the far boundaries of our Solar System from alien invasion, to a mere member among many in the Kuiper belt, a rather shady band of steroid-enhanced asteroids and dwarf planets.

And I think I can speak for the other three Dr.… Read the rest

Joga Bonito (“Play Beautiful”), Good People.

When it comes to a sporting event as storied and grand as a World Cup Final played between The Netherlands and Spain, soccer connoisseurs hope for a masterpiece, a Van Gogh or a Picasso, a shimmering jewel of a match to which they can proudly point and proclaim “Behold, tis truly ‘The Beautiful Game!'”

Instead, sometimes all you get is crude, Crayola caveman stick figures sketched on scraps of refrigerator art that are piled on top of one another and held together by kitschy, “See Rock City”-style magnets and always seem to slip and fall into that difficult-to-reach crevice between the counter and the fridge whenever you open the door to get some 1% milk for your morning cereal, only to find that one of your teenage sons has finished off the last of it a few hours before as a 2:00 AM snack.… Read the rest

The All-Important First Touch, Part II

The following is a talk I gave at the Health Talents International Breakfast, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN on 7/2/10.


Thank you for your introduction, Marie.

I’m a little of a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to direct involvement with Health Talents International, but it’s certainly been on my radar for many years. We came to know Marie and Carl Agee through Cahaba Valley Church of Christ during my student days at the UAB School of Optometry in the late 80s. We were a mac & cheese, beans & weenies poor student family back then, especially after Sandy retired from being a full time CPA to take care of our newborn son.… Read the rest

The All-Important First Touch

So much for another “stouuury book endin’.” Instead, another World Cup, another loss to a more organized, powerful and faster Ghanan team. The “Great Equalizer” strikes again.

I can’t say I’m shocked given the fine players Ghana has (and two of their best weren’t even on the pitch), but I am disappointed that the US National Team squandered a fine chance to equal and perhaps surpass their best finish ever in World Cup play. Poor possession and defensive organization led to the first goal (even US keeper Tim Howard, one of the world’s best, was about a step off in cutting down the angle and protecting that near post), but the overtime game winner by Asamoah “Baby Jet” Gyan was pure soccer artistry.… Read the rest

“A Stouuury Book Endin’!”

“We were watching the soccer match,” Eyegal explained to the desk clerk at the historic Park View Guest House in the Garden District of New Orleans last Friday morning.

The US v. Slovenia match had ended just a few minutes before the 11:00 AM checkout time, but we had planned ahead and had our bags packed and ready to go. The “good” US National Team had taken the pitch in the 2nd half after the “bad” one, the U-10 squad that had showed up by mistake, had gone down 0-2 in the first.

Yet the 2-2 draw to stay alive in Group C play had left both of us a bit frustrated.… Read the rest

Soccer In New Orleans? It Could Happen.

Just to show you what kind of marriage Eyegal and I have, when it came to planning our 25th anniversary trip to New Orleans, one of the most discussed points on our itinerary was where we would watch the US v. Slovenia match on Friday morning.

The answer is our room at the Park View Guest House in the Garden District over a traditional Southern breakfast. Not exactly fish and chips at Wembley, but it’ll have to do.

I jest of course (slightly), but you know you’re made for each other when you can sort through your priorities like that and still stay married.… Read the rest

How Soccer Is Like Sex

The opening match of World Cup 2010 is underway, and in a desperate attempt to bring “The Beautiful Game” to the attention of my more unwashed American readers, I played the sex card and came up with a splashy, tabloid headline.

So tell me, did it work?

Four years ago, I tried my best to explain to one of my All-American, baseball-loving friends “Why the World Cup Matters.”

The following quote from that post is a true today as it was then:

It’s an acquired taste, and when it comes to taste, most Americans don’t have very much.

The rarity of the goals is what makes them special.

Read the rest

Bama Fans Storm State Capital in Montgomery

In the most stunning political turn since Fort Sumter, University of Alabama football fans have ringed the State Capital Building in Montgomery with a barricade of RVs and double-wide mobile homes in an attempt to seize control of the state government.

They are demanding that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James cease and desist from his campaign and that Governor Bob Riley establish a new executive office, Beloved Athletic Ruler (B’AR), which would be co-equal with Governor and occupied by Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.  Riley, an Alabama alumnus, is reported to be seriously considering the ultimatum.

The movement began suddenly this past week after James, an Auburn grad, allegedly made intemperate and ill-advised remarks regarding Saban in which he questioned the coach’s maternal bloodline and threatened to reduce his salary or even outright “fahr his a**!”… Read the rest

Clarkston 1, Huntsville 0

outcastsunitedEyegal and I had the privilege Sunday night of hearing author Warren St. John (Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer–A Road Trip Into the Heart of Fan Mania) discuss his new book, Outcasts United–A Refugee Team, An American Town.

St. John’s book chronicles a season in the lives of “The Fugees,” a soccer team comprised of teenage boys from around the world who now live in the tiny southern town of Clarkston, Georgia outside Atlanta as a part of a United Nations refugee resettlement program. The central figure in the book is The Fugee’s coach, Luma Mufleh, a young Jordanian woman of privilege and Smith College graduate who, as it turns out, is something of a refugee herself (her father cut her off after she refused to return to Jordan following graduation).… Read the rest

And For That, We Are Thankful

When I finished “The Anatomy of a Broken Bone” two and a half years ago, I was hoping there would never be a Part II. “Here’s hoping our first one will also be our last,” I wrote.

So much for wishes, well-laid plans and good intentions.

Number Three Son is down again. This time with a broken distal left fibula (ankle, essentially) obtained while sledding down a snowy hillside on a trashcan lid in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the annual “Juiced-For-Jesus,” mega-monster youth rally, Winterfest.

The chance to frolic in a few inches of fresh, frozen precipitation was just too much of a temptation for a gang of Southern boys whose experience with the stuff is limited mainly to pictures on the internet and coverage of the Winter Olympics every four years.… Read the rest

The Fish House–The Place Where Dreams Come True

Marvin the Goldfish is like a Timex watch–he just keeps going and going and going…

His spirit I mean. The body itself is still in a sandwich baggy, buried deep in our freezer somewhere between the ground beef and the ice cream. That is, unless Eyegal got him mixed up with the frozen tilapia.

Final arrangements are incomplete, but ongoing. More on that shortly.

You may recall the readers who reached out to us in our time of Marvin-mourning with a very kind offer of a replacement goldfish. Yes, I know, it goes without saying that Marvin is irreplaceable, but it was still awfully nice of them.… Read the rest

No Regrets


Number Two Son and friend Nick have anchored the defensive line of their club soccer team since they were both 11-years-old.

Together, they were a keeper’s dream–“clean that junk up before it gets to me!” For them, a goal scored on their watch was a personal affront. How dare anyone tread on their turf!

Over the years, they called out to each other–“Man on! Man on!” or “You’ve got a drop”–whenever the other was in trouble. They were rarely more than a few yards apart, always watching the other’s back. They were a team within a team.

On Saturday, in the cold and driving rain, they played their last match on a muddy pitch that resembled a barnyard after a monsoon.… Read the rest


Q: How long does it take a too-cute-for-his-own-good, 7-year-old soccer scoring machine…


…to transform into a fearsome, I’ll-never-dribble-to-his-side-of-the-pitch-again, warrior-god defender?


A: About 10 years.

And here’s the other thing: If you blink, you’ll miss it.

Number Two is thrilled to have this well placed elbow in the back shoulder charge as the signature image of his senior and last year of competitive soccer. The special, tie-dyed  “third jersey” that they made just for that Memphis tournament is the crowning touch.

BTW, Number Two is considering Lipscomb, Harding…and Auburn.

Yeah, I know.

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She Lived Up To Her Name

“I thank God for how far I came to be here and to have the opportunity. It’s OK. I wouldn’t trade it. If it didn’t hurt this bad, I didn’t care that much, so, yeah, it’s still worth it. I’m glad I got the chance.”

–Nigerian sprinter and former Huntsvillian Olutoyin Augustus after failing to qualify for the semifinals in the women’s 100-meter hurdles

Toyin, we understand how you feel, but please remember this: We are not disappointed in you at all.

You lived up to your name.

Read the rest