Ranking World Cup goals: June 17, 2018

Russia World Cup Logo

“The Beautiful Game” is more than just goals, but we at The Bat Flip really like goals. This semi-ambitious project will take every goal scored during the 2018 World Cup and rank them daily, with a master list compiled at the end of the tournament.

A few things to consider when figuring your proper dosages of salt grains:

  • Importance of the goal may supersede beauty.
  • Penalty kicks will be considered on a case-to-case basis.
  • Shootout goals will only be ranked if they were the match-winners, or if some absurd act made the goal possible.

Now let’s rank some goals from Sunday’s match play:

The goals were not plentiful over the three matches, but they all carried some serious impact. As we’ll do every day during the tournament, it’s a countdown to No. 1 …

June 17, 2018

No. 4 – Aleksandar Kolarov – Serbia vs. Costa Rica

Direct-kick goals are apparently the theme of the early stages of the World Cup, so let Aleksandar Kolarov send this rocket to the top corner in the 56th minute of a slugfest that was low on scoring, but plenty entertaining … Also about as even as a match has been in the World Cup. If FIFA commissioned a rematch between these two just for funsies, I’m on board … Right after rematches of Spain-Portugal and Denmark-Peru.

No. 3 – Steven Zuber – Switzerland vs. Brazil

Steven Zuber played a role in both goals out of this match, but this one benefitted the Swiss way more than the other (SPOILER ALERT). Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner found Zuber at the peak of his jump as a quick flick of the neck sent home an equalizer, thus ensuring Switzerland a point in one of the premier clashes lined up in group play.

No. 2 – Hirving Lozano – Mexico vs. Germany

He’s 22 years old and Hirving Lozano may never score a bigger goal than this one. With Germany attacking for what felt like days, one swift counter resulted in the only mark of the match as Lozano grabbed a feed in the 18, undressed Mesut Oezil and calmly put the ball past keeper Manuel Neuer. Not saying that this is the biggest three points in the history of Mexican soccer, but Lozano’s goal put that result in place against the defending World Cup champions and FIFA’s No. 1-ranked side.

No. 1 –  Philippe Coutinho – Brazil vs. Switzerland

One touch. A swing of the right boot and a curving ball that struck the post with such precision that you can believe that Phillipe Coutinho planned to put Brazil on the board with this play. When Steven Zuber’s clearing header found its way to Coutinho, the goal may as well been posted on the board before the shot boomed by Yann Sommer. Wasn’t quite a totally Brazilian goal, but it’s plenty good as an opener.


A different kind of reset button


The guaranteed part of any big or life-changing journey is the unexpected obstacles that you encounter along the way.

This is not a post about the obstacles. It’s not a post about overcoming or enduring obstacles. It’s simply about rallying oneself to focusing on the original task – in my case, a better life through lower numbers on a scale.

When I purchased my scale in June and synced it to an app on my iPhone, the first weigh-in saw a much larger number than the one on the display at the top of this post. For those who were just going to ask anyway, about 38 pounds higher than the pictured readout. It was an embarrassing number which left me no choice but to blame myself.

It also left me no choice but to make changes.

When I’d tell people what the number was, there was shock. Most couldn’t believe that number. I guess being 6-foot-4 has its advantages when people honestly were stunned at the number I had reported. 

By the time that I had bought the scale, I had already restarted regular trips to a gym for about a week. I had already made alterations to my diet. I had cut soda. Almost all sweets. I even chose options at restaurants that were borderline healthy. From June 5, 2017 to June 5, 2018, I was going to somehow get to 185 pounds, or as close as I could.

The number – albeit a crazy one – was never the true goal. That true goal was progress and the promise that I’d get to the goal number eventually, even if not by the date I had set, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of my high school graduation.

(No, there are no plans to show up at any sort of reunion and brag about the lost weight if I hit my goal. It was just an easy-to-remember target date)

In the almost three months that I was all-in on this quest, the progress was great. Milestones weren’t easily passed, but they were passed all the same. I was down about 40 pounds through the end of August. It felt like I wasn’t even doing all that much, but there was still a reward for the effort that was put into it all.

Hell, in June there was a social-media post that had me feeling all sorts of ways about losing 16 pounds. Sixteen. Or about 11 percent of my goal. Eleven percent had me giddy. When I was basically at 27 percent, it was a great feeling. Eventually I was going to hit a wall.

Turns out, the wall hit me.

It wasn’t one specific event, but a combination of multiple factors that absolutely throttled me.

The result of that collision was receiving a colossal effort from king’s horses and men (and women) to rebuild. So far, that’s been a success – don’t believe all the nursery rhymes, kids. Resparking that motivation hasn’t been the success story that the emotional rebuild has been.

Sure, I made a few trips back to the gym after a shift at the office. OK, it was two. Two trips in two months. Somehow from the day that I had hit the wall to the day that this post was written, I had lost four more pounds. And that was with me reverting back to a ton of coping mechanisms. The same kinds of things that put me at the original number to start with … Soda? Yup. Quick-service food? Uh huh. Choosing laziness over activity? Allllllll day.

It wasn’t for a lack of desire – or the acknowledgment that I need to start up again. There’s a bag in my car with items for gym visits. Each night – except for Fridays – I get in my car and head to the office with the goal of hitting the gym post-shift. That goal has not been met in a long time. Each day it shakes down to either wanting to go home and sleep, or an office project which occupies that hour that would have gone to an elliptical, a few cable-weight machines and even a treadmill.

This past week, I made a vow to myself that November was going to be the month that I was going to get back into something resembling the earlier routine. My reset button, if you will. While the motivations still aren’t 100 percent back, it’s still something I need to do for myself. Maybe I’ll find a way to rekindle that spark on my own, or find another source for the spark. 

At the time of the wall unloading on me, I was on a pace to be within 10-15 pounds of the target by June 5. To get there now, I’d have to shed 14.2 pounds per month. That’s kind of a ludicrous number. Not impossible, just ludicrous. 

So maybe that target-number trophy won’t be one that’s in my hands by June 5 of next year. But maybe in a year, I’ll look back at this post and see a 1 on the left of the readout with that 85.2 following.

It’s still a very ambitious goal. All I need is that ambition.

NBA Live’s lifespan may prosper while living in the past


It’s been sitting in my modest office/gaming area for the past five weeks. Not long enough to collect dust – at least a visible layer, which is surprising because I’m a horrible housekeeper – but still an awfully long time for a purchase I just *had* to make. I popped it in my PlayStation 4 just to dump the data onto the hard drive on the day I purchased it, but with my job and in recent dealings to find myself after a not-so-great August and September, it sat there.

Even through October as I regained myself and started finding joy in life again, it chilled patiently along with my copies of NBA 2K18, NHL 18 for the PS4 and the recently snagged Super Mario Odyssey for my Nintendo Switch.

Eventually I’ll play it.

Hopefully it’s good enough that I’ll be forced to play the hell out of it.

I don’t need it to be some kind of unforgettable gaming experience, I just need it to be good.

Continue reading NBA Live’s lifespan may prosper while living in the past