A goal. Not with a girl. Or weed. Both desirable things to be scored, but not what I scored last Saturday.
Strangely, there are a substantial number of people who would remain calm and composed and greet you with the merest twitch of the lower lip if you were to tell them that I had scored with a girl or some weed, but would swoon, faint, hang out a crepe and have their friends gather around and say what a pity it all is, upon hearing the news that I had scored a goal on the football field. Some might even go the extent of remarking that there is enough sadness in life without fellows like Basil scoring goals. However, being largely liberal and broad minded and drawing the line only at Rebecca Black actually explaining the hidden meanings behind her songs, I am able to accommodate such views. Further, I am able to dissect, analyse and discover the source of such emotion.
I have always been a flamboyant and irrepressible forward who was denied international honours only by the misfortune of his own genetic makeup, selectorial prejudice against rubbish football players, and his inability to score flamboyant and/or irrepressible goals. The fascination in scoring a goal depends almost entirely on whether you are facing the goal post and net or whether the items mentioned are facing your back. I have been, for as long as I can remember, a goalkeeper. The sole purpose I had while playing football was to stop goals from being scored, rather than actually scoring them. I suspect that this has rubbed off on the general public. Perhaps because I am a sensational keeper, or because of sheer repetitiveness, many of those acquainted with me can picture me only between the posts and nowhere else on the field.
However, because of the general laziness of a few friends and their subsequent disinterest in mucking about on the field, I have been forced to be an outfield player while the more idle become goal keepers. So it was on Saturday. I had gone to the school ground hoping to catch a few goal-ward bound balls and let in as few goals as I could manage when forces beyond my control pushed me out into open play. Observing that the forward line of my team was rather unoccupied, I strode to position.
I ran about, rather aimlessly, for close to an hour or so with little result. I had wasted a couple of good chances and was generally letting anyone who had eyes see that I had as much chance of making an impact as an SFI march had of remaining peaceful. Taking solace in the fact that I had little to no experience in the business of being a striker, I sauntered about the penalty box.
Then, came the moment. It was a corner kick, though definitely not intended for me. It flew into the box and bounced of half a dozen players like the ball in a pinball machine. Then, in what seemed to me like ultra-slow motion, the ball bounced on to me. From the mere fact that I had made an absolute mess out of two previous chances, not many a punter would have put his money on me. However, seizing the tide in the affairs as Shakespeare advised, I prodded the ball with the side of the boot, accidently adequately placing it between the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper and the right post. It was a goal.
Man has, over the course of his existence, discovered a whole gamut of emotions. Some are considered noble. Some not so much. Love, for example, has had a lot of press-agenting from the oldest times. However, on Saturday, I discovered that there are higher, nobler things than love. The sheer exhilaration upon scoring, an euphoria that wells up inside you, your brain chemistry getting all messed up, resulting in an ear to ear grin, that feeling that makes you want to run a hundred metres, take off your shirt and jump into the arms of a dozen people. That undefined, unnamed and probably unanalysed feeling is perhaps the noblest of them all.
Being a game with zero audiences and no consequence to anybody other than the players, I merely turned around and looked around me. On their faces were a unique mixture of amazement, incredulity and relief, for we were getting a shellacking at the hands of a superior opposition. I was merely grinning from ear to ear.
It was at that moment, for it has been a very very long time since I scored a goal, that I realised why professional footballers celebrate the way they do upon scoring. They may score in almost every game every weekend but they are ecstatic enough to prance around and do somersaults in front of forty thousand people. That is why Wayne Rooney can shout into a camera, Ronaldinho can flex his body into a dance, Cesc Fabregas can risk a yellow card by taking his shirt off, Raul can kiss his ring and Totti vibrate his palm around his ear like a confused man trying to adjust the volume on the car stereo. They may be getting paid astronomical sums of money for doing that but in a golden moment or two, true passion and love for the game shines through. It is those moments that make the game truly beautiful.
I, on the other hand, am still ecstatic and continue to boast of my telling strike. This post is merely another effort in that direction.