Ball ball ball, Footy footy footy
I went to play football last night, at Finsbury Leisure Centre which, confusingly, isn’t in Finsbury Park. It’s near Old Street. It’s where I played a Guardian football tournament one morning after getting no sleep and forgetting my boots, which I survived on a diet of bananas and depleted adrenaline.
(I feel like I’ve thoroughly dredged my reservoirs of adrenaline and am going to run out just when I need it most, like when being chased by a grizzly bear. It is said that adrenaline is the ‘fight or flight’ hormone – if I was out of it, would I try to wrestle the bear? It’s always confused me, the idea that adrenaline is ‘fight or flight’. For me the answer is always flight. Maybe I have faulty adrenaline.
Actually, in that instance I’d probably climb a tree. ‘Adrenaline: the fight, flight, or climb a tree hormone’. Not as easy to write on your hand for your GCSE Biology exams.)
It was very cold last night but I went along because I am a man. As I entered the subterranean changing rooms my voice became 30% more cockernee and 25% more geezer, though I didn’t throw in any Madonna’s husband rhyming slang (Oooh! Heat Magazine’s bitchy / Guy Richie). My nipples hardened in anticipation. Everyone was called ‘Dave’ or ‘Nick’ or Steve’, nice short names for short compact men, with low centres of gravity and the turning circles of supertankers.
I was going to eat a banana, but Jim told me not to.
The match itself, and we fished out our kits from a big wet plastic bag. Mine was red and white stripes, was big enough for three of me, and smelt really bad. Also it was wet, so I had to run around extra-fast so I didn’t die.
The match started and there was much running about. Even though I’ve been going to the football off-and-on for a good few months now I still can’t really remember anyone’s names. I mean, I know their names were ‘Dave’, ‘Nick’ or ‘Steve’, but these sweating fleshy men pods were interchangeable in my mind. I’m also increasingly short-sighted, so when the ball comes to me I kind of run with it for a bit in a gangly fashion, then pass it vaguely in the direction where I think someone else is, using sonar and ‘bat-like’ vision. Ie sonar.
We lost 7-3 in the end, but I had a couple of shots, and set up two of our goals. Also whenever a goal went in a firework went off, so it felt like the masses were celebrating our goals. It was like being at a proper match in a hostile eastern European country – you know the sort of place, where the local fans have their own gang of ultras called ‘the crazy ones’, who set off flares and make monkey noises, and wear shoes on their heads.
After the match we all took our shirts off and returned them to the plastic bag, the football attire mothership. Our mainly white and pasty bodies glistened in the darkness. We returned to the changing room, where people got their cocks out. But not me. I went to the pub.