What is it about goals that leave such a lasting impact on us? Is it the feeling it leaves with us, whether that be a feeling of joy or despair? Is it the rarity that makes them special, and thus memorable? And why are some more memorable than others?
Then again, there are certain matches that stick long in the memory, but not the goals themselves. As a youngster, I recall watching Bray Wanderers pull back Shelbourne for a draw in a league match in which they were 2-0 down at half-time. During the interval my younger brother say “maybe we can get two goals in the second half.” My dad, sharp as ever, responded: “Yeah, it’ll only end 5-2 then.” I don’t even remember how the goals were scored, but I remember the scoreline, the thrill in pegging the dominant team in the country at that time and, most of all, the laughter we shared that day.
When I saw Bastien Héry’s goal from Waterford’s win over St. Pat’s on Monday night, I thought of how many people were unwittingly fostering memories they will cherish for years to come. Or maybe it’s not so unwitting, for why else do we go to football matches? To not only be in the moment, there and then, but to share the moment with those we’re close to and those we don’t even know but share an invisible bond with.
Over the coming season Waterford fans will witness their new French midfielder taking control of the centre of the pitch, taking the ball out, passing it side-to-side and up-and-down, teasing opposing players to come and get it; he is the metronome, an artist making little masterpieces over each patch of grass he hovers. And in years to come, supporters young and old may very well think back to the time he scored the screamer against the Saints, or maybe just a vague notion of the wonderful things he did on the field of play, and say, “Jaysus, remember Bastien? He was some player.”