Jamie Duncan is sick with the sport…
Now my hordes of fans know me for a lot of things – advertising cartoons, speed drawing films, conference cartoons and occasional forays into the pen being mightier than the sword, but I can’t help thinking they wouldn’t immediately associate me with sport in general, and football in particular.
So it may come as a bit of a surprise to hear that my number one son is totally committed to this mystifying game. He lives it and breathes it, to the extent that when he’s not kicking balls into a pop-up goal in the family room (and knocking leaves off a precious plant that started off life as a seed on a Barbados beach) he is playing FIFA 15 on an X Box or something in that very same room. And when he’s not doing that he is collecting cards which feature famous players such as Messi from Barcelona and Rooney from somewhere else. The other day I refused to buy him any more so he said “No problem, Grandad will…” What have we spawned?
But that’s not it. Last weekend I got up early on Saturday to make the Full English for everyone (very popular move) and by 10am I was booted, scarfed and standing on a muddy touch line watching the Crendon Corinthians going through their rigorous training regimen. If we were in that trans-Atlantic place called America they would probably be called the Little League – but here they are just a bunch of seven year olds (boys and girls) who are getting excitingly good at a sport that has them running and jumping back and forth for about an hour and a half as us highly witty parents try to stave off the cold by commentating, cheering and shouting advice to the poor little mutts who are trying to score those elusive goals. We always know when training is nearly over because it stops drizzling horizontally and the sun comes out.
And talking about shouting advice (oh attend for heaven’s sake) I am getting rather good at shouting wise comments at the unfortunate children. I’m on a learning curve, and am picking up tips from the assembled mothers and fathers. “Get rid of it!” I shout because nobody has told me not to, and last week I yelled “Watch your marker!” I don’t know why…
When Jamie scores I normally tell the others that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – which promotes answers like “It’s landed in the next county.” People can be very hurtful.
So training was a success. I wasn’t totally soaked through, and the only cloud on my horizon was that there was to be an actual match, with opponents and everything, at Wendover the next morning. Kick-off 9.30. Hardly encouraged by the fact that the Crendon Corinthians lost to them last time, in four small matches, 3 to 30 – we all turned up with what can only be described as a pessimistic air. But we got off to such a cracking start that the evil cold wind was forgotten. In Jamie’s first match the CC boys won 2-1 with Jamie taking a carefully considered shot from beyond the half way line, over everyone’s heads, into the back of the net. Game on. They equalised their second game 2-2 much to the delight of the touch line team of advisers. The other team didn’t do quite as well, with a small but respectable loss, but broadly the day was ours. Wonderful coach Richard couldn’t have been more proud of his young discoveries. Everyone shook hands and we were back in the car heading for home and major roast lunch.
And since we’re on a football theme, our weekend was completed with a …footballing party! Three of the Crendon Corinthians had their birthdays around the same time and their wise parents decided to have a football themed party at Thame Football Club on Sunday afternoon. Intensive training followed on that hallowed turf (another chance for the long suffering spectators to get freezing cold) and tea was served.
Home again, and into a football-free zone.
Well nearly. Long Crendon’s answer to David Beckham carried on with his pop-up goal until he was sent to bed to study his football card collection.
Maybe he’ll take up darts soon. Or table tennis. Anything that doesn’t involve freezing cold feet, horizontal rain, and barking out sideline orders I don’t understand.
Bless him. Perhaps he’ll earn £200,000 a week and keep me in the style to which I’d like to become accustomed. Mine’s a Bentley Continental please son…