Moment of honesty here.
I got sick of the normal X words. As if X words are normal. I’m sure somewhere someone is writing about xylophone adventures and xenophobia. More power to ya.
I say, let’s go with 10.
You know, the roman numeral for 10, X. Quick story here: I was a no-soccer-experience soccer coach at first. I made my own formations and positions, such as junker. (It was like a sweeping fullback, full of badass.)
We also had a roving midfielder called the X.
I’ll write about that next year. It was kind of badass, too. I’ll need some time to remember all that stuff. Ancient history.
10. Tim Hardaway, Denver Nuggets
Known for his killer crossover. Hardaway joined my favorite NBA team in the twilight of his career. I once sent him a basketball card and he autographed it for me.
9. Maurice Cheeks, 76ers
This dude was one of the smoothest jump shooters of my childhood. We’d pop shots from 18 feet just like him when we played in the driveway. (With lesser results.)
8. Todd Sauerbrun, Broncos and Panthers
This dude was one colorful player. Off the wall. Once in the Panthers locker room, out of the blue, he told me, “if you drink your own piss, it’ll kill ya. It’s toxic.” Thanks, Todd.
7. Dante Bichette, Colorado Rockies
One of the original Blake Street Bombers. I saw him late in his career at spring training with Boston. Eating pizza in the clubhouse during a game.
6. Carli Lloyd, U.S. women’s national team
We were a few minutes late getting to the restaurant to watch the game. She’d already scored two of her three goals vs. Japan.
5. Lionel Messi, Argentina
When I teach exceptional ball control, he’s the guy I tell the kids looks like he’s got the ball on a string.
4. Fran Tarkenton, Vikings
Before I was even 10, I had a love for the NFL. Tarkenton’s run and gun style ranked among the favorites of my childhood.
3. Kim Perrott, Houston Comets
On a team loaded with stars, Perrot was the fiery leader in two consecutive titles. She died of lung cancer before her teammates won the third straight in her honor.
2. Jim Zorn, Seattle Seahawks
My childhood hero. Left-handed and an underdog like me, Zorn made the expansion ragtag Seahawks fun to love.
1. Hayden Pacheco, Piedmont International University
I rattled off other top 10s in soccer. Messi, Pele, “Hayden,” she said without hesitation. Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty good company, kid.
E is for End-of-your-career awards
F is for Frank, my uncle
H is for ✊🏻 haiku (my quarantine journal)
L is for learn
P is for purify your mindset
Q is for quarterback
V is for the various roles I play