Confessions of an Ageing Football Player: I will be that Bolshevik!

You’re not going to believe this, but it’s true (enough). Me and the lads were out on the park tonight cheering and jeering each other as usual on a Monday night when what do you know but a postman rides up to us on his pre Second World War rickety rackety bike, rummages around in his sack and extracts what looks like a flea-bitten telegram. He looks around us all and our collection of muddy knees, torn shirts and scuffed boots and eventually his quizzical gaze focuses on me.

“It’s for you?” He’s adopted that annoying upturn of vocal intonation so beloved of soap stars from the Antipodes and I nod and reach out for his missive. I rapidly tear it open, wanting to get on with our park kick about but on reading its contents, slump to the ground in disbelief.

You OK.” states the postie, and I nod, partially dazed, semi confused and totally irritated by his inability to know the difference between asking question and making observations. More significantly,  it transpires that our national football team has, on its build up to this year’s World Cup, had to remove several of its lower ranked footballers from its squad due to some mysterious case of food poisoning they have mysteriously picked up from some mysterious source.

The management have been forced right at the last-minute to survey the stats of some our nation’s more modest talent from the league tables that yours truly fills in diligently every week in my capacity as team secretary and have concluded that the best player in our league – as defined by goals, assists, back passes and good intentions – is yours truly. I have consequently been called up to join the national squad to play for our beloved country in what is, let’s face it, the pinnacle of all sporting achievement. Ever.

There’s little time to hang around. My flight tickets are waiting for me at the airport; my bags have been packed by the team’s coach who has had to spend yet more time in the poisoned atmosphere that is the modern jet liner fuselage to collect me and my old socks and my diet from now on will be severely restricted to no less than 15,000 calories a day. It’s going to be difficult to be jettisoned into the stellar attention of international football stardom but I’m as ready for it as I always have been.

I have waited all my life for this moment: it won’t hurt my team to wait that little bit longer for me to arrive and collect what is rightfully mine: the lifting of the Jules Verne trophy on Saturday 15 July in Moscow.

I am Peter? And I am? your workshop leader? For today?

Ok Peter, I get the message quickly that you are about to run this session today but what really perplexes me is your constant inability to talk in a straight line. You’ve developed that really annoying tendency Peter which turns a statement into a question by placing an upward intonation at the end of every sentence.

And worse still Peter, that high rising terminal is creeping into every part of your syntax so that after just a few minutes of your session, I’m left wondering whether you think I’ve never heard the name Peter before, whether you actually exist, whether you think I’ve ever heard of such a thing as a workshop leader and whether you’re suggesting you’re going to inflict your rising questions on me not just for today but possibly for tomorrow as well and heaven forbid for the foreseeable future.

It doesn’t instil confidence in me Peter that you know what you are doing and it doesn’t predispose me to liking you or engaging with the content you’re trying to impart. In fact Peter it makes me want to leave the room and go find someone else who knows his or her own name, knows what they’re doing and knows today’s date.

Just imagine Peter if you met a surgeon who introduced themselves like this: “I’m Doctor Smith? And I’m going to remove your appendix? later today?” What would you rate your chances Peter of getting on and off the operating table in the right number of pieces?

Or you’re on a plane about to take off and the pilot says, ‘Good morning ladies and gentlemen? We’re about to take off?” He may as well add, “if that’s all right by you?”.

See Peter, it just doesn’t instil confidence Peter in you as a human being or as a workshop leader. So please Peter, just cut out the questions and start speaking in straight lines again.