It is generally assumed I am good at sport. There are two reasons I wasn’t up for 5 Aside. The first reason is that I am abysmal at the beautiful game. The second is I am not the most assertive when it comes to sport. I haven’t touched a football in years. In fact, the last time I touched a ball was when it hit me in the back of the head. I have such a bad history with soccer. I hated playing in school. I was always the last to be picked for a team. Soccer always made me feel like the class reject. In most schools, if you are not good at soccer, you haven’t got a chance of being popular. When we graduated from school, I was so grateful for the fact that there was no PE in college. As much as I detest soccer, I thought 5 aside would be a good opportunity to get to know some of the “lads” in work. I rose to the challenge and put my name down. GO STEVE!
On the lead up to the match the lads were asking if I was any good. I said, “No, I am useless, but fit enough. How about I run around lots and get in peoples’ way?” If the game involved just running up and down the pitch for an hour, I would be really good. It’s the kicking of the round thing I have issues with. I was also worried about what I would wear. I knew my pink tank top and matching pumps wouldn’t go down too well with the lads. I settled for a more neutral alternative – a navy pair of shorts and plain runners. The game was a week away and I had already chosen my outfit. It can’t be said that I didn’t look the part. We were due to play a firm of solicitors on the astroturf in Sandymount. It was a friendly game, but we wanted to introduce the solicitors to our good friend, “Pain”. GO TEAM!
The day of the game arrived. There were eight on our team. Three were my own age and the rest were in their early thirties. The whistle blew. I did as promised. I ran around a lot. I got in the way of the other team and sometimes even managed to get a touch of the ball. About fifteen minutes into the game we scored a goal. The game was ours. We cheered. Our opponents remained nonchalant. Of their team three of them were quite good. You could tell they were GAA men by the way they were able to go from naught to sixty in about three seconds. They bounded up the field with little effort. Their superiority rang through on their second goal. The life was beginning to drain from our team. I, like a trooper, was able to keep running. I even managed to kick the ball on two occasions. GO BODY CO-ORDINATION!
The GAA lads were very aggressive. They needlessly shouldered. This annoyed me. On one occasion, one GAA guy ran towards me. I went in for a tackle. The side of my head caught his. He bounced off me and fell over. I insincerely apologised. It wasn’t my fault since both of us refused to stop. However, he did take a hard knock. His contact lens became lodged in his eye. One of the guys on my team managed to remove it. About ten minutes later, I went for another tackle. This time I managed to get the ball. The guy, who I tackled, toppled over on his ankle with a loud snap. His team mates, after examining the injury told him to rest. He walked off the pitch giving me filthies. Soon after, I took down another player. The guy shouldered me and fell over in an elaborate tumble. The closing whistle sounded. The result was 3-1 to the opposition. We shook hands and went for pints. In the changing rooms it was decided that I would be the team “Hatchet”. It was my last and only game. GO HATCHET!