Hello, I’m Alexander Abnos.
The absolute first match I remember watching was the 1990 World Cup Final. My large family gathered in the living room of my uncles house, yelling at a comparatively tiny television. I was four, and as such I remember very little about the match itself today. I have watched many, many more matches since then.
Preki was the first player to dazzle my imagination. The first genuinely entrancing hero I could observe right in front of me on the grass. I saw him live for the first time when I was 10, in the inaugural game of the Kansas City Wiz. At first I just liked his name. With time, my appreciation grew to his precocious talent, his way of driving the rhythm of a game whenever he felt like it. I liked that the entire crowd could yell “He’s going to his LEFT!” whenever he had possession, yet his defender would never catch on. I find it very sad that there are more YouTube videos of coaches instructing how to perform a “Preki” than videos of Preki performing it himself.
The first match I covered as a journalist was Watford vs. Southampton in the 4th round of the 2004-2005 League Cup. Watford won 5-2. I was 18. Steve Wigley was Southampton’s manager that day, and I’ll never forget his haggard face as he sat in front of the press corps in a sickly fluorescent walk-in closet beneath the main stand at Vicarage Road. His job was in jeopardy and the defeat clearly crushed his persona. Steve Wigley was fired after one season in charge of Southampton. I have covered many, many matches since then.
I started Grass Canvas on Monday, July 23, 2012. That’s today. It occurred to me that, for someone who so badly wants to write about soccer, I don’t really do enough writing about soccer. So here I am. I am 26.
The blog is called Grass Canvas because that’s how I see the field of play. It’s a canvas – home to an artform. Like an artform, soccer can inform, upset, divide, conquer, thrill, devastate, and innumerable other fancy-sounding verbs. It is a game of both individuals and groups. It is both a public display and a personal undertaking. Does this not sound like an artform to you?
Music’s quality is not measured by chart success. Great architecture is not measured in pounds of concrete and steel. Rather, works in these areas are judged on the degree to which they, for whatever reason and in whatever way, move you.
Grass Canvas is soccer moving you. It is when, where, and why. It is who. It is you. It is how this silly little game with 22 people and a ball can have such a profound and life-defining effect.
How have you been moved? And how old were you when it happened? I look forward to finding out.