After reading fellow Signpost columnist Corie Holmes’ column about her greatest sporting moment, I started to think about what mine would be.
I thought for a while, thinking of things I’ve done as an athlete, I thought about making it to the final game in a YMCA basketball tournament, or making a big catch while playing baseball, but neither of those were it. My greatest sporting moment came on a makeshift soccer field in the Philippines.
Every Monday morning, during the first few months of my time in the Philippines, a group would gather on a improvised field to play a pick-up game of soccer. The leader of this group was Flemming Hansen. Flemming is a big Dane, who was in his upper 50’s at the time. He had been living in the country due to a job and he lived for soccer. Often he would play so hard on Monday that he would be sore and stiff for the rest of the week.
While they were only pick-up games between friends, the matches would become highly competitive, and sometimes intense. Normally I played at my normal position in soccer, as a central defender. I’ve been playing soccer for a while and I am a fairly adept defender, but after one game I jokingly complained to everyone that all I really wanted to do was score goals.
The next week, when we showed up to the field, Flemming picked me to be on his team, and then told me he wanted me to play up front, as a forward. As a defender who rarely saw the other team’s goal, I was excited. Anyone’s who’s played on the offensive line in football, or as a defender in hockey knows, opportunities to score don’t come often and are exciting (even in a pick-up game.)
As the game started, I pressed down the field with the other forward on our team, Ben Gevas. During most of the game, I didn’t see much of the ball, but towards the end of the match things started to open up. Towards the end of the game, I was able to touch the ball more and move down field a little more. I was able to pass the ball and create a few scoring chances.
Late in the game, my team went on a break down the field. Gevas took the ball around midfield and sprinted down the left wing of the field, I was breaking down the right wing, in support. As Gevas entered the box, I heard Flemming scream from the back field “Pass it to Davis, he’s open!” Gevas fired a perfect cross, which I slotted easily home into the net for the only goal of the game.
While it was only a pick-up game with friends for those few minutes after I scored, I felt like Pele. After watching the ball go into the net, I raced down the field, towards Flemming. For a large portion of my life, I’ve played soccer, and that day was one of the only goals I’ve scored.
While I have other good memories about playing in other more formal games, for some reason scoring that goal on a makeshift field in a game with friends stands atop of my list.