Frozen in time
Ask an athlete to pinpoint the exact second of a big victory, and often the best they can say is, "it was a blur."
There's competition, then success, then a mob scene, then they're being asked to describe what just happened, which they rarely do with any detail or coherence.
But a photo can step in where human memory fails. This picture from 2005 shows the exact final second of Game 1 of the MISL Semifinals in Milwaukee. Johnny Torres (right) has just realized that his rebound effort has eluded Cleveland keeper Jim Larkin and that his team has just won the game, 10-9.
Behind him, the fans' emotional release is apparent. The young ladies in blue feather boas, the middle-aged man in the gray sweatshirt -- they're sharing unbridled joy, as if their Powerball digits just hit.
Four of the six Cleveland players on the field are on the ground. In a mixture of effort, disbelief and exhaustion, they recognize where the ball is and begin to cope with the horrible, stomach-punch feeling that there's nothing they can do to pull it back.
The scene is also filled with the relationships that define indoor soccer. Genoni Martinez (3) could well be back in the finals again, this time with Monterrey. Kyt Selaidopoulos (24) already is, as a member of the Wave. Matt Johnson (19) was the winning coach of the only XSL season last season, with Detroit. Larkin played on the same Wave United outdoor teams with Torres; he's now a soccer coach at Waukesha North.
Then, there's No. 17. We all miss Todd Dusosky here. One of the finest target forwards ever to play the game, his career ended too soon due to an ankle injury. A few weeks ago, he pulled up next to my car on Port Washington Road in front of Bayshore Mall, surprising me with the fact that he recognized me, after dark, in my minivan. He shared the news that he's back in school now, and I was glad he bothered to do it.
Ironically, the glee he displays in this picture would be repeated exactly one week later, when he scored the double-overtime goal that won the championship in Game 2.
There is a great photograph of that aftermath as well, one that we're not showing here. Michael King is running to the opposite end of the field, to celebrate with teammates unseen. Dusosky ran to the corner, performed a Grade-C flop off the boards and laid there. And in the stands in that corner, amidst a forlorn group of Cleveland Force fans, one bearded fan with a baseball cap perched backward spoke for all of them with matching one-finger salutes.
That's a Championship Moment if there ever was one. Be part of the next great snapshot when the Wave hosts the MISL Championship Game on April 4 at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
VP of Communications