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Monday, 14 February 2011

Sunday Morning Footie (VI) - White Lines, (don't don't do it.)

Robbie Fowler - eat your heart out!!!
Thankfully, I have had a day on the road to Macclesfield and back to ponder this post. Oh so much to say in the heat of the moment, but I have had eight hours on the road including one lucrative meeting to contemplate my Musing's tonight.

Let us get the harsh stat out of the way. We lost 4-1, out of the Cup and a few bruised hearts. But that is only the start of the Sunday morning shenanigan's.

To get a game on at the Howard School our coaches have long emphasised the importance of parents turning up early to assist in getting, to what is to all intents and purposes a public pitch, the playing field clear of all debris and fit to play. On Sunday the majority of the parents let our boys down. It was a cold morning and I, along with a lot of other Mums and Dads, sat in the car to keep warm.

At 10.25, I started to wrap up against the elements only to see our boys coming toward the cars. Surely the game could not be called off. No, their Manager had complained that pitch markings were so poor that the game could  not take place unless the white lines were brought up to scratch.

What followed was a pure comedy and not a funny one at that. Our Gaffer was seen on his mobile, organising a line marker for him to pick up, when he really should have been free to motivate and get our boys prepared. Had I got off my warm and comfortable backside, I could have been doing that for him. But no, I had gotten lazy and fallen into the habit of just turning up and watching our boys reap the rewards of his and the team's efforts. Just stand on the touchline and relax in the glory of their performance, not this time. Lesson learned.

When any team loses, it is human nature to look for any cheap excuse to blame for the loss. But this one is geniune. Despite the difference in leagues, there was nothing out there this morning to separate the two teams. Except perhaps the loss of our coach for half an hour before kick off. Preparation is crucial to any team, no matter what level. This morning, thanks to the devious opposition manager, ours was done for.

So kick off we did, almost an hour late. A scrappy goal, saw them one nil up. Ironically our Keeper tried in vain to keep it off the line. Yes, that freshly marked line!

But once again, Rainham showed what experts they were becoming at set pieces and another great and brave header from one of the less tall lads on the field, saw us draw level. Great finish.

The second half saw very little between the two teams. Just a couple of more clinical finishes, thanks to puberty coming early to a few of their players, saw us fall to 4-1 down. But the lads still did not fold. They competed well and saw off the opposition's greater physical prowess. On another day, it could have been so different. This is where the little things do matter.

Harvey put in a steady and forceful performance at the heart of defence. His presence at set pieces definitely contributed to the goal. As his confidence grows, along with his overall mobility, teams like Cliffe will become easier to control. He was rewarded with yet another MOTM performance, but took no pleasure in overseeing defeat.

Keeping warm, when he should have been kicking Cliffe butts.....!
The omens were against Rainham 84 today. The good thing was, none of the boys complained, they just got on with it. Harvey came off the pitch at the end, with that horrible look in his eye that he has when he loses and said 'no one seemed to care today'. I disagree. I think all the boys cared, as usual. Perhaps we need to look further about who really cared this morning. I for one will hold my hand up and say, I could have done more. Harvey sensed a lack of care. But it was not from the boys. Parents like me need to look long and hard at themselves and say, 'what else could I have done to make my lad have a better day'. I know what I should have done and I know I will endeavour to assist where I can from now on.

But we also must keep things in perspective. Football is a very special game in the hearts of the Mackay's and a lot of other families out there too. When the enjoyment of competition gets squeezed out of it by over zealous and pedantic individuals, it is hard to take any pleasure from it. I would have typed that even if we had won today.

However whilst on the point of rules, one bit of humour did come from the tense atmosphere created by Cliffe. When you are handed the flag to run the line, you must try your best to remain impartial. No coaching whilst running the line. Their linesman had previous. He did it last season and again today. One might say cheating! It did not go unnoticed and a bit of crowd trouble ensued. Don't you just love football!!!

Next week we are faced with the tough task of playing the top of our league. We must put today behind us, focus on the good things we do and get back to winning ways. We will, with a little help from all those involved.

And a little word to our ref, in the wise words of Grandmaster Flash in the future, 'it's as hard as hell to fight it, don't buy it'!

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