Asking for offside
We are now including regular articles written by students on our blog site - this is our first submission that we are delighted to share with you.
It’s the waiting that makes it all harder.
Each second that passes by is almost as tortuous as the one that follows it.
Your feet turn into two blocks of cement, sinking deeper into the ground, as you stand immobilised by fear, with just a solitary arm raised in the air.
You can feel your heart relentlessly thumping through your chest, as a million thoughts rush through your mind at once.
“Could I have done more?”; “What if this doesn’t go my way?”; “How can I ever live this down?”
But at that moment, there’s one lingering thought that stands out well above the others…
“Can they see what I’ve seen?”
Because you know it’s offside.
In truth, the intensity of this game is just proving too much for your legs.
The player you were marking has now escaped your clutches, so now they’re through on goal, and you can’t catch them, but before they can score, you plead to the official to give you the offside.
There’s a university assignment you’ve been doing or trying to do for a while, but it’s now suddenly due in a few days, and you know there’s no way you can get it done, so you implore the university for an extension.
It all comes from the fact you’re at the brink, both physically and mentally, and you’re struggling to read the game, or simply keep up with it. Your body, straining with all its might can’t make up the ground, and now your player has gotten away from you.
Just like how you’re on the verge of exhaustion at university, unable to understand the work or keep up with it, so as much as you desperately try to move heaven and earth to make back the time, this assignment’s getting away from you…
Maybe you feel guilty that you’ve been caught out like this, but it often happens to the inexperienced players in the game, and it’s nothing a good bit of coaching, training and conditioning can’t fix in the long-term, to be honest.
But it should come as no surprise that whatever level of football you play at or whatever year of university you’re in, you’ll nearly always find more than a few players in desperate need of a last-gasp offside call.
It’s normal. It happens.
In fact, some more experienced players use their savviness to play the offside trap.
You play a high defensive line when you know you’re up against fast attackers, so the offside trap gets you ahead of the problem, and gives you time to make up the ground, if you don’t get the call.
In the same way, if you have a heap of deadlines on the horizon that you know will all come at you quickly, you may ask for an extension well in advance to better help you manage your workload.
If it doesn’t get granted, at least you have more time to prepare for it, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Although, beware all you players who become complacent, and look for an offside, without working on your positioning or conditioning, or in this instance, your time-management or work ethic.
You might get lucky with a call or two, but make it a habit, and sooner or later, a goal will go in.
Of course, if you get the call, you know you’ve been given time to catch your breath, refocus and see the game, or in this case the semester through to the end.
But there might be other times, where you are absolutely knackered and cannot continue, offside or not, so in that case, there’s no shame in coming off the pitch, so you can come back stronger in the next game or perhaps next season.
Without a shadow of a doubt though, it’s the waiting that makes it all harder.
Sometimes the whistle blows instantly, and pure relief sweeps through your body, as you’re swiftly put out of your misery.
“Offside.” Phew! You’re fine. Extension granted.
Some others are not as lucky.
They’ve scored. The deadline’s passed. Still no reprieve.
But then, VAR reviews the build-up of the goal, inspecting whether it’s offside, just as the university will determine whether you merit an extension or not.
Is it really “clear and obvious”? Are your circumstances really extenuating?
It might boil down to the length of a player’s boot or maybe the inclusion of a key word or letter of proof on the extension form.
Nevertheless, the officials all convene to consult one another, like the university exam board will do after your assignment deadline.
Is it game on, or is it game over?
One thing is for sure, however.
For now, you have no choice but to wait…
Written by Joel Miansiantima