Saturday, July 30, 2011

For the Love of the Game: A Soccer Conversation with Donal Logue

I love this gig I have.  I've met many of my boyhood soccer idols.  That's just one of the terrific things about my involvement in the game.  Recently, this gig had me crossing paths with another of my non-soccer heroes.  It was with great pleasure that I was able to spend a few short minutes talking soccer with one of my all time favorite actor/directors and friend in football, Donal Logue.

Since this is my blog, I can digress a little off the topic of soccer, if I feel the whim.  So, bear with me and I'll warn you, skip the next few paragraphs, if you're not interested in reading some deeply personal revelations about how Mr. Logue's work has affected me in a very real sense.

Donal is an actor of immense talent and starred in one of my favorite movies ever, the 2000 independent romantic-comedy, "The Tao of Steve".  In it, Donal played the philisoph-slacker, Dex, who laid down some simple tenets for life (and for picking up women, coincidentally) which can be distilled into the following, "Be desireless, be excellent, be gone".

For me, a guy who struggled with self-image problems, especially around women, these ideas were a revelation.  After dozens of viewings, my roommate and I could be heard around the apartment quoting lines from the Buddha and discoursing on solipsism. Yes, we were wild and crazy guys.

However, those six words became a personal mantra of sorts and I used them to help get over a very real problem with social anxiety and a general lack of confidence.  By clearing my mind of desire or the need to be seen as something other than who I was, I was able to stand tall in who I actually was.  (Does that make sense?)  The second tenet was working hard to be excellent at whatever I chose to do in life; career, hobbies, soccer...  These first two led me to the third tennant of "be gone" which I interpreted as being unafraid to face new challenges, which has eventually led me to the adventure of moving out of my comfort zone I'd built in Maryland and building a life here in Huntsville.  

I know, it sounds kind of silly that a rom-com could affect a person so fundamentally, but life is like that sometimes.  All the personal reflection that the movie inspired gave me the confidence to approach, woo, and eventually win over the smart and sexy woman I now call my wife.  It has also led me to explore and enrich my life through soccer by giving me the confidence to appear on camera as a part time TV soccer analyst and play-by-play announcer.  Art really can influence you in profound ways.

Now, Donal also wrote, directed, and starred another of my favorite movies, "Tennis, Anyone...?" about the celebrity tennis circuit.  My father was the local tennis pro in the rural part of Maryland where I grew up.  So, I certainly spotted some of the same types of  egos in the movie that would swing the rackets around on my father's courts while I was rollerskating outside the fence to retrieve errant tennis balls in the late 70s/early 80s.

Plain and simple, I really appreciate Donal's work and he has more recently appeared in many successful movies and network shows including "Life" and "Terriers".  Now that I've gushed on about my man crush on the guy, we can get down to the heart of the post.

It just so happens that Donal is also a soccer geek like me and has poured his passion into his club Hollywood United.  He's "living the dream" of soccer ownership.  His club will be playing for a National championship in the 2011 NPSL Finals on Saturday night.  Here are some excerpts from our conversation a few days ago.

BTW, the debate is now raging about whether you can use my name in your next game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

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