Friday 16 August 2013

I am playing in a non-competitive five-a-side football game with some lads from work. When something is non-competitive it’s only really OK to be winning. If you are losing a game that doesn’t really mean anything then what are you doing. We are losing.

I am not playing too badly given that I am playing outside with a proper football on poor quality astroturf. I do play football regularly but I play inside with one of those tennis-ball resembling indoor balls; the game I play in prohibits kicking the ball higher than one’s head, we are not playing this rule tonight. The main result of this unfamiliarity seems to be that I am kicking the ball a lot higher than I should be when I try to score (am I revelling in the freedom of being allowed to kick the ball above the height of my head?). For those unfamiliar with football, the idea is to put the ball underneath the top of the goal and in the middle of either post. I keep kicking the ball higher than the top of the goal – and, to be frank, not in-between the posts necessarily. I decide to shoot less.

For the opening 20 minutes I am a little distracted by the idea of someone opening the flimsy locker containing my bag that has my phone and wallet in it. I am playing in Moss Side essentially. It is very easy to say that everyone should expect everything to be OK. But I really like my phone and the locker seemed less secure than an overweight teenager.

Brilliantly someone has kicked the ball out of the pitch, above the high fence and onto the nearby main road. No, it wasn’t me. We have to wait for him to go and get the ball. I need some fluids. Happily my water is in my bag. I need to go and get my bag out of the locker. I need to. I haven’t judged anyone here as untrustworthy – I just need my water. I go and get my bag out of the locker. Everything is fine at the locker. But, it makes sense to bring the bag with me because I might want more water. That is the reason why I bring the bag back and place it in the back of one of the goals.

My team makes a comeback later in the game and closes the gap. I feel confident enough to try an attempt at goal. I hit it out of the pitch, over the fence and almost over the carpark. A couple of people remark they have never seen anyone kick the ball so far. By the time I have fetched the ball back the momentum of our comeback has been lost and we end up losing by four. But who kicked the ball the furthest over the fence? Most people selfishly concentrate on the winning/losing of the game rather than my triumph. Some people are so wrapped up in themselves.

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