Perhaps you saw the nightmare lived by Macedonia keeper Edin Nuridenoski over the weekend, allowing a pair of soft goals in his country's 2-1 defeat by the Republic of Ireland. Here's the video in case you missed it:
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YouTubers just love the 'funny' goalkeeping mistakes for their compilations. You know the ones: Paul Robinson's whiff, Massimo Tiaibi's incomprehensible belly flop, Shay Given's failure to spot a lurking Dion Dublin, and especially, Tomislav Piplica's glorious header. Poor Tomislav, people just keep showing that one. Me included. Here it is:
But let's get back to Nuridenoski. His errors, especially for Robbie Keane's goal, are more representative of the kind of thing that normally goes wrong. Not funny or bizarre, just unfortunate. Every goalkeeper knows how these moments feel. Professionals have to endure them in front of crowds and TV cameras, but is it really any better for a Sunday league keeper, lying disconsolate in the mud while his teammates stand over him, glowering and muttering, possibly even flinging garbage at him? Okay, that's an exaggeration, but that's how it can feel.
Possibly the worst thing about a mistake, any mistake, is the time you have to stand there thinking about it in the immediate aftermath. The fortunate goalkeeper will be thrust right back into action and may even atone for his error with a brilliant save, but there's every chance you just stand there, wishing you were anywhere else. Never is the linear nature of time more tangible and more frustrating. The bad thing that happened is right there, just seconds ago in your past, but you can't go back and do it again.
Edin Nuridenoski will surely have better days. If there's anything to be said for mistakes, it's that they toughen us, provide an opportunity for growth and learning. Let the YouTubers laugh; we goalkeepers know the pain, and so we feel empathy. Except for Tomislav Piplica, because what the hell was he doing?