Kurt Kuykendall had barely settled into his seat at the D.C. Armory yesterday afternoon before his name was called on the public address system.
Not knowing what fate awaited him, Kuykendall responded to the call. It was a mistake. The fate: playing goal behind a battered, tired Washington Diplomats soccer team.
By the time his afternoon was over, Kuykendall, who once played for the Dips, had seen seven soccer balls fly past him and the scoreboard was telling him that his team of two hours had been beaten by the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 11-3.
Yes, they count by ones in indoor soccer.
Kuykendall should not be blamed for the final result. Nor could Dips' starting goalie Eric Martin, who struggled through the first 23 minutes, surrendering four goals on a badly bruised hip.
Martin was forced into action because of a minor problem his backup Bob Stetler has. He will be examined this morning to determine if he needs a hernia operation.
"When we realized what the situation was we tried to reach Kuykendall this morning," Terry Hanson, assistant general manager of the Dips, said. "But we couldn't reach him. He had asked us to leave tickets so I knew he was coming."
Thus the call on the P.A. system.
Kuykendall, 1974 graduate of American University, played for the Dips in their initial season, 1974. He also played as a backup in 1975-76 for the Comos. And he will be trying out with the new Denver franchise in March. But he had not played soccer for six weeks before yesterday.
"I thought he did well," said Dips' defender Jim Stecie, who acted as coach in Gordon Bradley's absence. "I told him to try and stand up and not dive like you do outdoors because indoors the boards cause a lot of rebounds."
But Kuykendall spent a lot of time diving. The Rowdies showed from the start that they were not about to take the Dips' 7-6 overtime victory Saturday lying down.
They bombarded Martin from the start, benefiting from first-period goals by Tony Crudo and Joe Fink - who eventually scored three times. It was 4-0 by the time Kuykendall got in the game.
"I thought I played fair," said the 25-year-old Kuykendall who is living in Reston and working for a McLean real estate company. "There were some aspects of my play I was pleased with. I wasn't nervous or anything but I'm not in great shape physically. I feel very tight right now."
Kuykendall didn't feel too well physically; neither did the Dips. Aside from the goalies, both Steele and defender Alex Pringle were hobbling after the game and the locker room looked like something straight out of a MASH unit.
"When you're playing with only six a side and you've got three or four starters hurt what can you do?" Steele asked rhetorically. "We'll all be okay in a week (except Stetler) but there was no way today."