I can't thank Jeff Husted and the Missouri Comets enough for the opportunity to play goalkeeper Saturday night in the third-annual Missouri Comets Media Game at the Independence Events Center.
After being introduced and doing a Danny Waltman-like backflip off the glass, I stopped 21 shots and recorded a nail-biting 1-0 victory …
Oh, wait a minute; that was the dream I had the night before the game.
I'll leave the crowd-pleasing backflips to the best goalkeeper in the Major Indoor Soccer League, and I want to thank him once again for the use of his goalie gloves. I know they're the reason I was able to actually help my team win 2-0 – which was quite sweet following a lackluster 3-0 loss two years ago where my team didn't even get a shot on goal.
This year, I pleaded with Husted to give my squad a bit more talent. I'm an old-school guy and asked for Pele, David Beckham or Leo Gibson and Byron Alvarez. They weren't available, but Korey Brinton, a photographer who owns Upper 90, did his best Pele impersonation.
He scored two goals and was all over the field, claiming the spotlight for most of the game. Thank you Korey, thank you Mr. Husted.
When your entire family is in the stands, sitting right behind the net, you don't want to feel like a guy sucking on his last cigarette while a firing squad is receiving its final instructions.
The Comets make this media event special. We get our own personalized jerseys; I get to borrow gloves from the face of the team; and we run out through smoke and fireworks and get to toss mini soccer balls into the stands.
For exactly 10 minutes, one night a year, I know it's like to be on the turf at the IEC in a competitive situation.
While many of the familiar Kansas City area TV faces were on each team, it was Brinton who stole the show. He scored early in the first half and early in the second half, which gave me some breathing room and helped me catch a couple of thumbs-up gestures from my two sons, Zach (visiting from St. Louis, where he is manager of coffee operations at Goshen Coffee) and Sean (a service manager at McCarthy Hyundai in Blue Springs).
After the first game, I was surprised to find they didn't wear bags over their heads. My team was New Orleans Saints' circa 1970s ugly. KMBC Channel 9 meteorologist Erin Little did some nice defensive work near the net, and our team managed to keep the ball away from the two most athletic members of the opposing team – for which I thank them, very much.
For a guy whose most strenuous activity during the day is finding the TV remote or walking my partly paralyzed wiener dog Marley, this was the experience of a lifetime.
I'm not ready for the big time, but if the Comets ever need a media goalie in the near future, I hope I'm their man.
Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6333 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC