It was like the Munchkins had escaped from Oz. Exhilarated by their independence yet unperturbed about their lack of knowledge of the actual rules, they had decided to form a football team. And then discovered Fruit Shoots and Ben Ten. A tribe of tiny people zooming about going
One had a football cone on his head, running up and down the hall with his eyes crossed. One whooshed past me flapping its hands, its tongue lolling out of its slack jaw, wobbling its head from side. One kid seemed to just trip over some dust.
There was the Clint Eastwood of the group. The silent wild card with a steely glare. He wasn’t zooming about like he had a rocket up his bum. No, not him. He had his own fish to fry. He was in a battle of wills. With his dad. He spent 15 minutes, rooted to the spot, barely blinking, eye balling his dad. Ballsing it out. His expression said it all.
“You. Can’t. Make. Me. Play. Football”
His father’s head looked like it was an orange on a toothpick. Fuelled by rage (and a fair dose of embarrassment), his father ended the stand off by catapulting his body off the parents’ sports bench, and frog marching Clint Eastwood out of the hall.
“Daddy?” asked Ed, as Alex bent at the waist and put his head on the floor. ”What is Alex doing?”
“Everything he isn’t supposed to be”.
I suppose he was, at least, playing, even if he wasn’t actually playing by any rules…
Alex ran past me, screwed his face up and showed me his pointy finger. Despite it looking like he just got swearing wrong, I knew my darling baby didn’t mean offence by this action. He like every single other child in the hall simply is unable to grasp the notion of “thumbs up”. Like monkeys, toddlers don’t have working thumbs, they can only stick up their pointing finger. It’s sweet, really, I thought. Bless him…Until I suddenly remembered once being sat next to my mum in the car when someone cut her up.
“ARRRRGGGGGGGGH!” she screamed in rage and stuck two Peter Pointers up at the car in front, truly believing this was the international hand gesture for “f**k you!*.
Hmmm. Maybe Alex really was telling me something.
The mayhem hit its peak when, during a vague attempt at an actual match (it looked like a bunch of zombies chasing a decapitated head), one of the tribe picked up the head, I mean ball, ran to a stack of collapsed gym mats in the corner and slid down it, holding the ball above his head. Victorious. The tribal leader.
Coach had lost control. And he knew it. Never underestimate the combined force of a group of toddlers and a big open space. There was only one thing he could do. He had to sacrifice something regain control. And his Trainee Coach was it.
Suddenly Coach Eric BOOMED:
“GET COACH ALAN! CATCH HIM! GET HIM!”
At his command the pack of kids change direction like a swarm of bees, rushing towards the newbie coach, picking up instantly on his scent of someone evidently still not confident in his role as adult in charge (which he was emmitting like sonar).
That poor bastard. And his poor testicles as they were boshed by 15 pairs of tiny fists.
I hope they get paid a lot of money for doing this job. Danger money.
“COACH ALAN!” Booms Coach Eric “Please come and stand in the middle of the hall!” and he slowly started dropping cones around Trainee Coach in a big circle. Sinisterly. It became very clear, very suddenly that the request to stand in the middle of the hall wasn’t an invitation. It was a command. Coach Alan hadn’t been invited to the party – Coach Alan was the party.
“Now, children!” boomed Coach Eric “This” (points at the cones) “is a castle! This (points at the nervous looking trainee Coach) Is the monster. Now, get your footballs and place them outside the castle. Now, take two giant steps back”
You can see where this is going.
“KICK THE FOOTBALLS! KICK THEM AT THE CASTLE!” (and Alan).
But it worked. As the castle walls collapsed and Alan was buried underneath them, the angry little Gods had been appeased. Coach had regained control and calm was restored. I hope they pay him well.