The clock is ticking for a number of the Colorado Rapids' veterans, and as they approach Saturday's Rocky Mountain Showdown (copyright all Denver- and Utah-based media) at home to Salt Lake, they've come over all philosophical about the passing of time, reports Brian Forbes.
"You start to feel your mortality," said Pablo Mastroeni, 32, who is out of contract at the end of the season. "You start to realize that if you don't take advantage of the times when you have good players around you and a good coaching staff, it may not happen again." He almost, but not quite, went on to quote William Shakespeare by adding, "Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back. Wherein he puts alms for oblivion."
But oblivion was also on the mind of another 32-year-old player soon to be out of contract, defender Mike Petke. "I wonder sometimes if a lot of the young guys understand that this is important and one day they're going to be a veteran," he mused while looking through an album of faded black and white photographs from his early playing days. "One day this type of situation could be their last game. How do they want to go out?"
Back firmly in the present tense, Mastroeni called the game "loaded," and goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, a third player whose contract is about to expire, called it "exciting, but at the same time it's a lot of pressure." But Kosuke Kimara, age just 24, said he understands the implications. "Every game I play, I think it could be the last game I play," he said. "I know this isn't just 'a game'."
"No," writes Forbes. "It's a chance to put a positive spin on a soap-opera season. It's a chance to suspend mortality, if only for a few weeks."