My gripe with anonymity is this: If something is good, and out there, why not have your name on it? There may well be good reasons why you would not want your name on it, but why not make one up? Sometimes, name sheets get lost. Literary competitions and publishers lose whole plays and manuscripts all the time. Sad.
It was a five-a-side football tournament in the leafy suburbs of Aigburth. I never dared pronounce the name of the place, because everyone I knew pronounced it either egg-birth or egg-buff, which both seemed wrong to me. I thought it looked like auge-burf, first part as in as in the politician, William Hague, without the H.
Whatever, it was a jolly fine place. We were beside the river. Teams from youth clubs right across Merseyside. The organisers had loud speakers which boomed out the names of goal scorers and team news. Like usual, it didn’t matter who I played for, but our team seemed to have the worst kit. Yellow with green stripes. There was always one who felt it perfectly okay to wear his own shorts, too.
Our keeper had tight blue Wrangler jeans on and shoes. His jersey top, although correct, was so small on him that he was flashing his belly button. It was obvious just by looking at him that he had never played football in his life.
What everyone seemed to be distracted by however, even more than our designated net man, was the girls’ team. Yes, the tournament had a female outfit. Their kit was black with pink socks pulled up to their knees. They looked too pretty for hookers, but too devilish for regular girls. One of them had split her hair into ponytails and had bright red lips like a vampire. Another had her shorts hitched up her legs so high that they looked like a belt. Yet another was only 4 and a half feet tall if she was a day – never mind kicking the ball through your legs, she could run through your legs herself, and most likely ring the bell on her way through! (Forgive me, but for some reason I couldn’t shake the image of her ringing a bell as she run through someone’s legs. It was a Benny Hill moment.)
Most intriguing of all, however, once the first game kicked-off - us against the girls - was their sweeper. She was medium height and medium build, with strawberry blond hair tied back, minimum make-up, shirt tucked in. Compared to the others, she was decidedly average. But it was her who I couldn’t take my eyes off. I saw nothing else. Tunnel vision. Love vision. All the jokes and laughter which you can imagine came from such a situation fell upon deaf ears. I was absorbed, absorbed, absorbed I say....
When everyone around her took it as some kind of bizarre experiment, she tried her very hardest to win. She was the only one sweating, and her perspiration reflected in the sunlight, illuminating the honesty in her face. She panted hard, played in every position up and down the pitch, blocked stinging shot after stinging shot with her legs (I kept shouting at our lads to take it easy), and stuck herself in for 50/50 challenges time after time. When she got time on the ball, she displayed skill and finesse, with delicate passes to her mostly unresponsive teammates. With the last kick of the game, she hit the crossbar from her own half with a low curling drive from the outside of her left foot.
We won 9-0. I made it my duty to congratulate her effort after the final whistle. She was so modest it felt like she thought I was pulling her leg – sincere humbleness if ever I have met it.
Her friend told me she was the niece of Kelly Smith. I said I hoped to see them both next year and rejoined my team, who were still all messing about.
© Blob of Glob MMX