If you’ve never been to the Aragon campus, there is a road just in front of the school sign on Alameda de las Pulgas. It would be on the backside of the campus and as you drive up the hill, you’ll pass a couple of the school’s athletic facilities.

As I was driving up to cover the Burlingame-Aragon girls’ tennis match Thursday, I couldn’t help but notice the football team was on the football team doing conditioning drills. A little further up, you pass the baseball field — where I saw the Dons, in uniform, going through a practice. I pulled into a parking spot just as the tennis teams were taking the court to begin their pre-match warm up and all I could think was: this is almost normal.

Now with the imminent return of football, soccer, water polo, lacrosse, baseball and softball, my thought is now this: Game. On.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve slowly started ramping up my game coverage. Two weeks ago, I covered my first non-PAL championship cross country meet. Last week, it was girls’ golf and tennis.

I’ll admit, it has been a little more difficult to get back into the groove of writing game stories. One reason is trying to be sensitive to fact that while the Peninsula Athletic League won’t be compiling standings, the results still mean something to the athletes.

The other reason is that I’m simply out of practice after spending nearly a year without watching an event and writing a game story.

I’m certainly going to get my writing chops back sooner rather than later as I’m about to be deluged with sports. PAL football games are scheduled for two weeks from Friday, with baseball, softball and water polo schedules not far behind.

As normal as it might be to cover a baseball or softball game this spring, it will definitely be surreal to attending a Friday night football game in March. But I’m not complaining.

It’s been a long time between game coverage and it will take me a little bit to get my sea legs back under me.

But considering where we were a month ago, I’m certainly not going to complain about having too much to do after a year of seemingly doing nothing.

***

As a former soccer goalkeeper, I can appreciate goalies wanting to be recognized as actual soccer players. I’m in no way saying they’re not, but a recent spate of butchered goalkeeping play in the English Premier League illustrated clearly that goalkeepers playing with their feet are a recipe for disaster.

There is a football saying used to describe a defensive back who dropped an easy interception — if you had hands you’d be a wide receiver. You can similarly use that to describe a soccer goalkeeper — if you were any good with your feet, you’d be a field player.

There was a time when a backward pass to a goalkeeper could be scooped up. It was changed to force goalies to play the ball with their feet, which could spell trouble if they are put under pressure. In a Liverpool match a few weeks ago, the failed foot play by Reds goalie Alisson Becker resulted in a pair of Manchester City goals.

A week later it was Leeds goalie Illan Meslier botching the play that resulted in a goal as well. In each instance, the goalkeeper waited until the defender was on top of him before deciding to make a move, at which point it simply turned into a turnover to the other team, no more than 30 yards away from goal.

Goalkeepers should not be exempt from the old adage: when in doubt, kick it out. Or at the very least, just clear it down field and allow the defense to regroup.

***

As far as I’m concerned, if you are involved in professional sports, the ultimate goal is to win. It’s not about making money. It’s not about saving money. It should all be about winning, period.

Which is why I’m glad Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather resigned under pressure after a Zoom meeting with a local Rotary Club. During his talk, Mather essentially degraded a Japanese player for inability to speak English well, before going on to talk about how his goal is to essentially screw players out of money. He topped it off by saying instead of being proactive in free agency, his strategy was to wait until the players came to him, “with hat in hand.”

I had never heard of Mather before Monday and I don’t think his attitude is any different than a number of his now former colleagues in Major League Baseball. Mather was simply dumb enough to verbalize it.

But if you’re in professional sports for anything other than winning, what’s the point? You can be a bean counter anywhere.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: Nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 650-344-5200 ext. 117. Results and statistics can be emailed to: sports@smdailyjournal.com

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