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Soccer

Pelé Me Bollix

When Stringer went the wrong way round the scrum in 2006 and you knew that this was it, we’d won. And it didn’t matter whether you were Stringer , O‘Gara, O’Connell , whether you were in Cardiff, in the pub or at home, you became part of something bigger, a huge loved up synergistic bubble and it was a moment.

Or when Pelé stepped over the ball in the golden Azteca in 1970 and Carlos Alberto sent a scorching daisy-cutter diagonally across the goal to beat the Italian keeper for the 4th time and it was Brazil’s to keep. And as kids we were there too, we became Pelé and Jairzinho and Rivelino on the streets.  Sport has this capacity to lift and bond, to send us into a delirious rapture, for free; all we need to do is invest a little time and sometimes we can be lucky, get the rush, the endorphin buzz and the sense of connectedness.

Sometimes
It’s almost fairytale-like, where anything becomes possible – life altered forever and moved onto a different, exultant, plane.
Sometimes.
For an investment of time, perseverance, patience and love.
On a Monday evening in a Northside park, the fawn in the Yearling didn’t die, the sun lit up again on Cormac McCarthy’s road and again, the man and boy became Each the Other’s World Entire, in the park on Monday evening. Guy Garvey sang out Elbow’s anthem a day like this and we answered in tune and knew all the words.
2:1 down, Balla U13s sensed the premier league slipping away to a bigger and more physical Annacotty side.
2:1 down – digging deep.
2:1 down and not losing a shape.
2:1 down and still playing football, passing accurately not hoofing but facing into the Aisling catenaccio.
See though and that’s the thing, sometimes the good guy wins out.  Sometimes there is justice and those lucky enough to be present sense this too and become part of the right doing, the joy, the celebration of something other, something intangible yet real and in front of you cause you’ve invested and you’ve persevered and ended up lucky.
2:2, an early score in the 2nd half.
Balla need to win, to win the league, a draw is enough for Aisling, the catenaccio tightens and they ignore the fast break, put ten behind the ball.
Some might say cynical for this age group.
Fuck off.
From the five year old to his sister cause we’re in the park.  There’s a smell of liquor from you.  Sla, to the linesman cause his helpful comment isn’t and at 2:2 time is running out.
You know when Dunphy makes a fist, rotates his arm 90 degrees and indicates a push, the application of pressure and a coordinated advance, well they do all that.
They attack again, precision passing, digging deep, ball out wide, the winger flies to the by line, beats the defender, crosses, Ryan rises and flicks the header, it hits the post right-sided and,
3:2.
More minutes, too many, and then none.
Balla U13 premier league champions.
He played.

3 replies on “Pelé Me Bollix”

We were sent up to the People’s Park a few years back to have a word with great Jairzinho Mr Sniffle. He was working for the Futsal thingy promoting it. He was foot juggling an empty coke can when we met him, kept it up at least 30 times. I asked a few kids did they know that Jairzinho was there.Who? they asked. Very sad. Kids these days are not taught proper history in school. Was with Balla myself, en route to Deportiva and a loan spell with River Plate and Santos before I inked a five year deal with Prospect Priory (Z) in the LDL. Our manager used memorably say that he was taking me off and putting on no one. Our manager used take players off as opposed to pulling players off. He was very particular about that.

He was a wise manager indeed Mr Sniffle. After I arrived back, dissillusioned, from my six month loan spell
with Dynamo Kiev, he figured that that no one, as a sub, would have a greater impact on the game than myself

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