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U3A Writing: The Match

A football match convinces Janet Richards of how good life can be.

On the last day of the old year, we walked in the bright morning towards the park. The cold air sharpened my senses, and as we passed through the wrought iron gates, I felt the tarmac under foot give way to squelshing mud and fallen leaves. In the distance cries of encouragement, praise or despair guided us to our destination.

Football, I have to say, is not my game. The nearest I got to it, was to check the match results for my father on a Saturday when he wasn't able to be beside what was called then, 'the wireless'. 'What', I asked myself, 'was I doing here?'

As we came closer to the pitch, the players were obscured by a motley and very enthusiastic group of spectators of all shapes, sizes and ages. Proud dads, dreaming of their fitter days, girlfriends discussing fashion and watching the beautiful shape of the men in their shorts and small boys trying their skills on the touch line and looking to see if Mum or Dad was watching. In and out tottered the toddlers, like multi-coloured, droopy-nappied Liquorice Allsorts, in their brightly coloured clothes and boots, oblivious to the epic struggle on the pitch.

And there they were, my reason for being there! Two large gladiators, quite the best looking of the lot! Huge, strong and determined, giving no quarter. Covered in mud from head to toe, battling it out, on opposing sides. I could scarcely contain my admiration. I glowed with pride as they scored goals, or tackled and fearlessly hit the ground with bone-jarring thuds.

The game was in the end decided by penalties, or so I believe, and one of my heroes was made 'Man of the Match' and given a silver cup to add to his other trophies.

As my daughter and I walked away, I suddenly felt how good life can be, that two grandsons and brothers, can play on opposing sides and remain the best of friends.


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