With the World Cup in full swing, I thought it would be ok to keep the football/soccer theme going. 😊 Last week I wrote the story of the greatest goal I’ve ever scored. No, not in the World Cup Final, nor the final of the Champions League, but a friendly match against the Farmers Inn pub team 🙂 I started thinking about other ‘funny’ or important footballing events in my amateur footballing, non trophy winning life, that might be worth writing about. One thing that does ‘gripe’ me about my footballing lack of career, is I never won a medal. Not one, never ever 😥 This might not seem that important. I’m sure many people play sports and never win anything. However, you do not know how many games of football I played.
From the minute i got home from school until it got dark I played bloody football. If there were loads of us, we went to the Valley, a natural ‘amphitheatre’ to play a game, if there were 4, we’d play in the drying green in front of the flats, much to the annoyance of anyone who had washing out. If there were only two of us we’d play kerby on the road. It wasn’t as if there were not other things to do. Between the flats and the school there were large fields with trees, bushes and a burn. We’d build camps there and play ‘jump the burn’ which usually had the inevitable outcome. I remember us playing hide and seek with more than 20 kids divided into 2 teams, taking hours through to darkness to finish a game. It was football though that dominated my childhood. I can’t remember anyone who didn’t play it. Morning, noon and night. The only time football stopped was during Wimbledon, when we’d draw a tennis court in front of the garages and, without a net, for a fortnight, play tennis until the light faded. This was fine until the first time I played tennis on a proper court, upon which I duly hit the net about a thousand times. 🙂 Anyway, enough droning on about my childhood. I’m here to make you smile. So……..here’s the story of ‘The Blind Goalscorer’…………..enjoy………. 🙂 In my early twenties I returned to the town I was born, still optically challenged by glasses. I used to hate when it was raining, hate opening the oven, and hate coming in from the cold. I also used to hate when girlfriends insisted in ‘trying them on’ leaving me staring like a zombie trying to focus while they laughed hysterically. Despite my impediment, football was still ‘my thing’. Every week Match of the Day would further fuel my love of the ‘beautiful game’.
One day a friend asked me if I would go and ‘trial’ for his Sunday League team. It was pre-season and they were getting an international squad of talented players together, AKA ‘anyone they could find’, to ‘trial’ for their team. So…….one Wednesday evening, we arrived for ‘training’. Although I’d played for teams before, I’d never played for one that actually trained. Up until this point, I’d played games for teams that basically turned up at a venue, played, went to the pub, went home. There we were all lined up and ready to go. For me, this was it, the BIG TIME. The warm-up consisted of running around the football pitch a few times……………..and that was basically it. They then amazed me by dragging out this wooden thing, which turned out to be a dummy defensive wall. ‘Ok everyone. Line up and take a shot around the wall. Each player goes twice’ We all shuffled into a sort of line and the first guy placed the ball roughly 10 yards away from the now imposing looking pallet of doom. He took his run up and…………woahh!……..what the bloody hell was that? He’d skied it almost vertically, and I can officially tell you, that ball is, to this very day, still up in the air. As the previous Lionel Messi lookalike headed off in a space rocket to try and retrieve hs ball, the second bloke in the queue started his run up. Woomph!………and that would be 3 points for the Scotland Rugby Union team!
Two kicks in and already we’d already run out of footballs. So, we sort of stood aimlessly in the middle of the pitch looking at the ground, the sky, the wooden pallet etc, while we waited on Messi and Maradona retrieving their balls. As I looked around, I realised I was 23rd in the queue. At this rate my 24th birthday would have come and gone by the time we’d finished taking free kicks. Soon, more kicks were heading skyward and even more points were heading the SRU’s way. What was wrong with them. Had they all been to the pub before ‘training’.
Eventually it was ‘my turn’. I placed the ball on the ground, stepped back, ran up and curled the ball with my right foot towards the top corner. The keeper was stunned into life. Someone had actually aimed the ball in his direction. He rose to his left and tipped my shot over the bar. ‘Wooooo’ came the noise from behind. I wasn’t disappointed. I’d waited in the queue for nearly 6 months to have a shot at goal so missing it when my legs were nearly numb wasn’t such a bad thing. Then someone said the dreaded words………… ‘Ok one more shot each”
Now, I hate being hard on people. Everyone has different skills and talents. You jus have to learn what those skills and talents are and use them to everyone’s benefit. But……… these guys were the worst free kick takers this side of Alan Hansen. And so the mayhem continued, ball after ball being retrieved from space or the burn 2 miles behind the goal. I was 26 yrs old when eventually my second chance came. I placed the ball, took a run up and, this time, curled it with my left foot round the pallet of doom. Now, at this point it’s worth remembering, that something like 40 free kicks had been taken. I would say the keeper had made half a dozen easy saves, including my first tame attempt. This time though, someone had sent the ball the other way. The goalie looked perplexed, bemused, even stunned as the ball floated past him into the net…… ‘Feckin show off’ came the cry from the queue. I couldnt help it. All those youthful years of playing on the drying green had paid off. I could kick the ball with both feet and then some.
Finally, the training was over and, as we headed towards the changing rooms I heard the dreaded words…… ‘Dave,we’re playing a friendly against Lincluden Colts on Saturday. Can you play?’ It was a game of football ffs, there was only one answer……….. Saturday arrived, I was nervous. Not because I didn’t think I was good enough, but, because the Colts were a Saturday amateur side from a league that was much better than the team I was about to trial for. I took to the field, placed, as usual, out on the wing. The game kicked off and away we went. We’d only been going 5 minutes when the referee came up to me. ‘You’ll have to take your glasses off son…..you might hurt someone’ I thought ‘here we go again’……was i the only person in the world that was wearing glasses that could kill. I’d never heard of anyone being hurt by a pair of National health spectacles. I thought about arguing with him, but I could see from his demeanour, he thought he was refereeing the FA Cup final and not a knockabout between two Saturday and Sunday amateur sides. I think I remember someone asking if i could play without them. I’d never tried, so versus giving up and missing out on a game of footie I thought I’d give it a go. Now, I don’t know if any of you are short sighted, but I am very short sighted. I didn’t realise how much until recently, when an optician said to me ‘ooh you’ve got a good prescription’. Everything beyond 4 inches in front of my face is blurred unless I have either a sheet of glass on plastic ear supports or a curved plastic disc on my eyeball. I tried running about a bit, but I soon realised this was not going to work. I couldn’t gauge the undulations in the pitch and as for timing kicks at the ball…………..I was going to pack it in, and, once more, as was becoming the norm in my life, walk off the park, when I saw the white blurry thing shoot up into the sky. It soon became a very blurry white object. I could also see a dark object ahead, which turned out to be the goalkeeper. I stumbled towards him, almost falling twice, as my relationship between the unfocussed grass below me and I, became less than amicable. I could make out the ball dropping down to the goalie and was about to give up, when, as i was about 15 feet away, the goalie looked towards me. Now, normally that would have made no difference to how the world was turning, but, in this case, it was a fatal mistake. As he looked up, the ball fell into his arms. Only it didn’t. Instead, it dribbled through his arms, hit his foot and rolled out towards me. I could see the furry blurry ball of air coming towards me. I gamboled towards it like a new born baby deer and attempted to stick my boot on it. Unfortunately I completely miskicked it and it went off like a spinning top back towards the goalie. I dont know what look the goalie had on his face as i couldn’t make it out, but as the ball spun past him he must have at least had a look of surprise. I’m not sure how long it took but the ball traversed the goalie like the earth round the sun, taking almost the full 365 days to circumnavigate him. I blinked, saw that the the fuzzball had stopped. What i couldn’t make out was, the ball had spun 6 inches over the goal line. I’d scored. I’d scored…………….I’d scored one of the worst goals ever scored. I could see the local newspaper headlines “Blind Goalscorer Wins Game’. 👀 I stumbled through the rest of the game , which unfortunately we lost 2-1. So, my blurry goal, which won the Roberto Carlos award for fastest spinning goal ever, meant nothing. Although i was asked if I wanted to play that season, the headache i had and the realisation i would be unable to score flukes like that every week, made me realise i’d have to make do with indoor 5 a sides. However, I learnt that day that even when everything appears to be against you, you can still win if you just keep going. 😀 ‘The Blind Goalscorer’ was brought to you by @qosfc1919 on Twitter and Dodo productions 2014 ©