A kicker in the making

December 1, 2015 — by Anant Rajeev

As a soccer player and more specifically a center defender for five years, I am used to kicking a ball. And so although I have experience only in playing as a center back and sending flighted long balls with a soccer ball, I decided to try out kicking a differently shaped ball: a football.

Ever since I was a freshman, I have wanted to join the football team, even if just for one year, to be a kicker. Something about going on the field for less than a minute and still being able to put points on the board for the team has always appealed to me.

So, after soccer practice one night, I decided to give it a shot. Senior Aditya Chaudhry held the ball down for me at the 30-yard line, and I planned to start my football conquest.

The first kick was up. And to my confusion, it sailed wide left. It quivered through the air the full distance, just not accurately.

I stood there in shock, confused at how the ball managed to wobble as much as it did. Kicking a football was a little more intricate than I thought.

Second try: I lined the ball up at the 10-yard line again and put my foot through the ball, making sure I had a huge follow through. I smiled as the ball sailed through the uprights, and I moved it back to the 20-yard line.

I had about a 3-yard run up with the same technique, calmly chipped the ball and laughed as the ball sailed through the uprights once again.  I was on a roll.

Cockily, I moved the ball back to the 40-yard line, thinking that I could easily make it after two shots in a row, and kicked the ball with the same technique as before. On the contrary to what I imagined, though, the 50-yard kick sailed wide left. I was stunned. I didn’t realize that 10 yards could have so much of a bearing on the direction of my kick.

Giving myself another chance with a slightly easier distance, I pushed the ball up to the 37-yard line. This time, I was able to put eight out of 10 balls through the uprights. A field goal from the 37 yard line translates to about a 47-yard field goal, and that’s definitely something I could be proud of.

Even though real kickers have to kick with an 11-man defense running directly at them trying to block the ball, this experience taught me that maybe — just maybe — I should have tried out for the football team.

 

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