So you’ve been nutmegged…
If you’ve been embarrassed in the worst way possible, you have but one option available.
Your innocence has been wretched away. The foundations of your entire belief system has crumbled; you’ve stared into the abyss and have seen that the world is cruel and the heroes always die at the end. You’re here because you’ve been a victim on the football pitch, and now all seems bleak. You’ve been nutmegged.
The nutmeg, also known as “caño” in Hispanic America, “panna” in many European and African countries and, hilariously, “25 kopiyok” in Ukraine (meaning you owe the other player 25 cents), is defined as “a technique used in association football, field hockey or basketball, in which a player rolls or throws the ball through an opponent’s legs. This can be done in order to pass to another player, to shoot on goal, or to carry on and retrieve it.” Yet everyone knows a nutmeg is a slap in the face with a glove. It’s you congratulating your best friend on finally finding a date, only to have him show up at your door to take your sister to prom. It’s being fired on your day off. It’s rude and downright disrespectful.
One of my coaches –who played professionally before his ankle ligaments decided to break up, Rocafella style– has devised a cruel test for all those showing up for training. Because he likes to hurt people, he gathers his players, then asks the new trainee to trap the ball five times in a row from close range. Pretty simple, we’re all professional-caliber players here, or so you would think. The first pass goes to the right foot, the second then goes to the left and then he repeats it.
Now here’s where the human mind fails the body; after the fourth pass, which goes to your left foot, it’s only logical that you expect the fifth to go back to your right. It’s the reasonable and humane thing to do. Even if he was to trick you — which you can guess from the giggling crowd shaking their heads pitifully — and pass it to your left, you’re skilled enough to still trap it. Silly, silly human folly. What he does is this: He passes it with his instep, and just as he goes to complete the follow through, he flicks the ball with the outside of his foot, thus nutmegging you as you stretch out your right leg to trap it. It works every single time. He conditions you, and then he breaks you.
You’ve been nutmegged, and you’re probably wondering where to go with your life now. You’re the Fresh Prince sitting on the sidewalk asking what if you never get your life together. You’re Scotty watching Matt Damon sing “Scotty doesn’t know” while your best friend –I hate him already– yells the lyrics in your ears. You’re Kratos from God of War climbing to the highest mountain of the Aegean sea, declaring that “the gods of Olympus have abandoned me, now there is no hope” before casting yourself into the waters below.
Well my friend, I hate to tell you this, but there’s little chance for redemption. You can hope that your abuser loses the ball, allowing you to claim that it doesn’t count since he didn’t retrieve it. It’s not much but hey man, look at you, at this point clutching at straws is all you’ve got. The only way you can even begin to redeem yourself is if you nutmeg the person back and make them fall. That’s the Men in Black flash that erases what has been done to you. But trust me, just like in the movies, there will be days when your friends scratch their heads while trying to remember when your soul was snatched out of your body. You can destroy the evidence but you can never erase the crime.
My personal advice as a caring human being who wants the best for you? Start a fight. Assault the person who defiled you and get kicked out of the game. If you’re not the aggressive type, take the petty route and refuse to shake their hand after. If you’re like me and you drove the person to practice, say that you have to leave early and leave them with no ride home. If they don’t care enough about you to not nutmeg you, why should you care about them getting home safely? Thems the rules.
I know all seems lost now but just know that in football, there is joy, there is pain and most of all, there is another chance. Maybe one day you’ll be presented with a chance to rip out another player’s soul Shang Tsung style by nutmegging him like this:
When that chance comes, show no mercy and embarrass them to the point that they are forbidden to return to their ancestral land.