Monday, March 31, 2014

Match Report

Sunday. 5pm.

The half time whistle came as a relief to our team. We trudged to the sidelines, sweaty and lugubrious-looking , two-nil down the pathetic score. So far our play had been a tear-jerking series of screwballs lofted from our defense, sailing straight into the opposing keeper's grateful gloves. Meanwhile we absorbed two goals, including a contentious penalty kick and a gift to the opposition, courtesy of our atrocious defending and goaltending. (I myself was guilty of squandering two open scoring chances.) Half-time was a chance to get tactics in order. Surprisingly, no such tactics were discussed. Instead, accusations flew like aerial balls that preceded them. 

Second half. We got a consolation goal from slightly improved play but the overall concept was the same - flying curveballs hasty with urgency, yet lacking direction. I was one of two strikers at the receiving end of this highly erratic supposed service, and I dashed up and down for the resulting loose balls for all my lungs' worth. But with four opposing defenders, and our three immobile central midfielders (who spent the majority of the match looking up at balls looping far overhead), the odds were stacked against a victory. We were playing like villagers. 

The straw that broke the camel's back, for me, was two simultaneous injuries in my right groin and left ankle after one particularly stout defender dashed me to the ground, rather than allow my blistering pace to leave him in a cloud of dust. (Un)fortunately, there being no substitutes whatsoever on our bench, I had to see the match to its end. Thus was I the ceremonial figurehead - a striker whose main threat is his affected menacing looks as he limps grimacing about the attacking third.
Two - one the final score. At the end of the match our coach strictly barred us from commenting on it until the next day. A few discontent comments escaped some angry lips, but by and by the censorship prevailed.
As I sat on the grass mentally reviewing my own performance, the adrenalin in my body slowly declined to depletion, which proportionally amplified the pain from my injuries. And just when I thought I would spring to my feet and walk home, I, who had left the pitch at full time with a deceptive spring in my limp, was now stiff and arthritic. The team first aider saw this and immediately took to rubbing liniment into my injuries.

As I lay there groaning and wincing, who should I see on the sidelines but Anita, her eyes fixed on me.

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