Addie Smith | Sports Editor
I’ve never been one for hand-eye coordination. Honestly if you threw a ball at me there’s an 83 percent chance that it will fall to the ground or that I will spaz out before it comes within a foot of me. However, as the sports editor of The Duquesne Duke, I felt the urge to learn how to stop a penalty kick with the help of Duquesne men’s soccer sophomore goalkeeper Sam Frymier.
So, on Monday afternoon I found myself on Rooney Field with Sam, junior forward Josh Ellis, assistant sports editor Pat Higgins and two photographers/videographers all prepared to learn more about the penalty kick.
Josh would be teaching Pat the method behind the kicking, while I would be learning proper goaltending techniques from Sam. As Pat gathered kicking instructions from Josh, I stood to the side and watched Sam as he prepared to stop Josh’s shot. All I gathered is that I needed to step up my hand-eye coordination. It also helped that Sam knows where Josh’s shot is going to go 90 percent of the time from practicing together for two years.
Sam let one of Josh’s shots go past him, but stopped Josh’s second shot with ease. Now, it was time for Sam to talk me through defending a penalty kick.
The basic gist of Sam’s speech to me, “just try to read the kicker’s body language.” I nodded; figuring out Pat’s body language and where he was going to kick the ball seemed easy enough.
Now, it was time for Pat and I to take to the field and show off our skills that we gathered in the 10 minutes prior and showcase them. We ignored the quizzical glances coming from Academic Walk as Pat swung his leg back to take the penalty kick.
Before I continue on, I would like to say that I was incredibly handicapped in this excursion out to Rooney Field. Pat had played varsity soccer in high school and I quit soccer in the seventh grade (by the way, I was only goaltender at the age of 11, so even that skill had been washed away). Obviously, this wasn’t going to end well for me and Pat was going to be victorious.
Pat’s first kick thankfully went wide, making my lurch to the side of the goal pointless. Now, it was time for Pat’s second and final shot, which he guaranteed me was going to the left of the net. Being incredibly too trusting, I lurched to the left, while Pat’s shot sailed into the right side of the net.
Needless to say, I did not end the day happy. Even though Pat and I technically ended in a draw, the competitive fire in me was unhappy with the way the day had ended.
So, if you’re ever goalkeeping in an intramural soccer game and have to face a penalty kick, remember to just follow someone’s body language and never take someone’s word for where the ball will end up. We can’t all be as good as Sam, but with these tips, we may be able to defend a penalty kick a little bit better than before.