Posted tagged ‘Football sidey’s’

Pulp Fiction Moment

October 9, 2010

During the summer months when the kids were young I would take them for a drive and we’d try to locate new grass areas to play football. All over the outskirts of town we’d find places to indulge in our love of football orientated games: 7-in 7-bye, Longies, Waw’ay, keepie-uppies etc. With lots of practise both of them have become decent footballers and even as kids were quite good.

Sometimes we’d just play by ourselves but other times we’d instigate or be invited to an impromptu game with other players. If Heaven exists it must be like these games, the sheer joy that is called kickabouts. Kickabouts are football without any rules. Playing against strangers hones your technique as you must expect the unexpected. You will encounter a whole range of playing styles from roughhouses, one-footed (not literally) players, quick and skilful to mediocre and finally dreadful. In my youth some street games (“Sidey’s”) were twenty a side with everybody eager to join in: dads, granddads, the police, shop workers and strangers passing-by. The rise of the automobile caused the decline of street football. Shame…

Not that long ago we discovered a new grass pitch not far from my mum’s house and kicked the ball about. Three of the locals were playing nearby; inevitably a three-a-side match was set-up. During play it started to rain and soon turned into one of the worst storms I’ve ever witnessed. However, the show must go on and squelching through the quagmire we soldiered on. These games don’t have a time limit; usually it is the first to reach a pre-determined amount of goals that is the winner. The rain was relentless and we were covered in mud from head to toe, it was worth it though, we won in the end.

Our filthy odorous bodies went into the car and it too became mucked with sludge and the smell of dirt. This was OK because I could clean it in the morning, as for us a short detour to my mum’s would fix us. Always welcoming no matter the situation or state of us, Gran hugged her boys. Three hot showers later we were kitted out in some of my dad’s gear. This consisted of shorts and t-shirts for the boys and pairs of flip-flops, of course nothing was matching and they were multi-coloured, while I was given a Val Doonican purple cardigan, old grey trousers that were too short in the leg for me and a pair of bright red sneakers. Again this was OK as by now it was dark and late, making it unlikely that anyone would see us drive home.

Our appearance reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction when the two gangsters accidentally kill an accomplice who bleeds all over their suits, forcing them to get their clothes changed. Funnily or coincidentally my wife loves John Travolta and I lo…uh, I mean, ermm…am fond of big Sammy Jackson. The garish clothes they are given in the film weren’t as bad as the outfits my dad dons.

Avoiding the caked soil in the car we made it back home clean but with nightmare clothes on. We entered the living room to see my wife quaffing drinks with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in years. This was obviously a surprise visit. No doubt my wife had been extolling on the merits of her spouse and offspring. We stood there looking like a jumble sale.
And I hoped they didn’t want a lift home.