I love goalkeepers

I love goalkeepers.
Probably more than I should.
I think I love goalkeepers
because they’re loners on a crowded pitch.
They put everyone else in front of themselves.

I respect that they do a job no one else wants.
A job that when it goes wrong
it goes really wrong.
A job that when it goes well
it was just expected of them.

I like how everyone seems to think
goalkeepers are odd.
I like how they are odd.

I love watching them do nothing
for 89 minutes
then save the world in the other.

I like that they’re not footballers.
They’re handballers.
I like that they chose the one role
that goes against rule number 1.
I like that they’re number 1.
I like that they’re sometimes number 13.
I like that they’re not scared of number 13.

I like how they stand in front of bullets, willingly.

I like how when they do something good
after their defenders have done something bad
they never acknowledge the good thing they’ve done
and bang their important hands together
offering words of encouragement.

I once heard a story of a goalkeeper
so desperate for the loo
he popped his willy out the bottom of his shorts,
mid match,
hid it from the cameras and crowd
using one of his large gloves
and pissed up a goalpost.

It may or may not have been Fabien Barthez.

I love Fabien Barthez.

I love that goalkeepers have different
fashion sense than their mates.

I love that they can kick the ball
further than the players
who get paid to only kick the ball
can kick the ball.
I love that they can almost
throw the ball further
than the players who get paid to kick the ball
can kick the ball.

I love how long their arms are.

I love thinking about
how good goalkeepers are at hugging.

I love goalkeepers
because they play the game
longer than the outfield players do.
Something I wish came true for you
every time a Saturday kicks off.

© Carl Burkitt 2019

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