Thursday 31 October 2013

The Good Samaritan

I’ve got most of my football kit on. Although it’s halloween I am not taking this opportunity to celebrate it by wearing some non-horror based fancy dress – like 9% of adults in the UK – but I’m at the gym to play football.

There is one problem with completing the uniform (to go with AC Milan shirt, New Zealand short and Manchester United sock): I don’t have my trainers. This has never happened before. For clarity, I have not had my trainers about my person before but not when I had needed them about me as much as this.

This was a real bind. I’m not going to play in my work shoes, I thought. I then said it to some of the people I play football with who had joked that I could play in my shoes. I resigned myself to going to home. Then the situation got worse: one of the others offered me his trainers. What the fuck?

I can’t take your trainers, I thought. Then I said almost instantaneously. He insisted that I should take his trainers reasoning that he wanted me to play* and therefore he’d make the sacrifice of wearing his regular trainers if I wore the ones he’d brought for football. Now I felt awkward for a couple of reasons:

  • I don’t really like the idea of wearing someone else’s footwear;
  • There is no fucking way on Earth I would make that offer to someone I didn’t know that well. No fucking way. Even if I had a spare pair of trainers in my bag that I didn’t want and was going to burn after carrying them around in my bag that day, I wouldn’t let my best friend wear them just in case there might be cause for me to need them. There might not even be cause – just seeing them on someone else would make me want them despite having a better option on my feet.

There’s a personality issue here, I am not someone who asks for things from people. Certainly not people I don’t know well. I don’t ever remember borrowing money, for example. Imagine the effort it takes to walk up to a reception in a sports centre in a football kit and black work shoes to ask if they have any trainers in lost property they could lend. They didn’t have any.

Of course I had to take up the offer from the fellow player. I had to put my normal socks on under my football socks because they were a size too big. The guy who’d made the offer was going to have to play in the pair of skater trainers he’d worn for work until someone turned up with a pair a size too big for him. Everyone running around in other people’s shoes…it was like some kind of football game for hobos (who all had a job and a home but two of them had on other people’s shoes, that kind of hobo).

*They wanted the number of players on each side to be even, it wasn’t some heartfelt plea to be around me for longer.

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