Wednesday 17 June 2009

Jesus Saves ( but Peter Scores on the Rebound!)

Yesterday afternoon I worked with Gilles, an electrical low voltage equipment specialist, and then drove to Toulouse to work in the studio with Gilles, a guitarist and sound engineer, and his colleague Gilles, an archaeologist and filmmaker.

So, for the second time I get to write an opening sentence with the same name repeated three times in succession.

Tomorrow I will distort reality in any attempt to complete a hat trick of hat-trick names.

Incidentally I believe George Best remains the only footballer to have scored a double hat trick in one game, something he achieved against Northampton Town in 1970. (Editor's note -Up to today - 7/Feb/2020 - i thought this was the case. Apparently not! This article explains that others had also achieved a six-goal haul, though not many)

Of course there was probably someone whose name I have forgotten who did the same thing against the church team I was coaching that lost 19 -1 at about the same time, but there were no TV camera’s to record what will always be an exceptional sporting "feet".

At the time I was Sunday-school teacher and a neighbouring church challenged our team to a game. Training commenced once a week and it soon became apparent that our collection of over enthusiastic 10 and 11 year olds had one idea – to simultaneously all rush to the spot the ball was in a hope one of them would connect.

They needed tactics and they needed someone to tell the goalkeeper to stay between the two white posts.

I sat then down and with chalk and board explained such ideas as space and passing, upped training to twice a week and insisted on zonal play. We worked hard.

The day of the big match arrived and we cycled up to the playing fields with a plastic bag of orange slices to suck at half-time (something I remembered from my own time in the school team and sadly lacking in the modern professional game).

When half time temporarily relieved my team of the on-field torture they were suffering the orange sucking proved the only time they were able to coordinate action and then they went back out to try to overturn the 10-0 deficit.

With five minutes remaining and a potential 20-0 score looming I called them into a dispirited huddle and confessed –“forget everything I told you, forget the zones, and just do what you want.”

With a rush of released pent up energy they exploded onto the pitch and all 11 of them charged towards the ball, it hit someone’s knee and bounced towards the opposing team’s goal.

My players screamed and hurtled after it, the opponents parted like Moses’ waters and the terrified goal keeper, distracted by what seemed to be an onrushing plague of locusts watched as the ball bobbed over his surprised head into the net.

The final whistle blew – we had triumphed! 19-1.

Which I guess leaves Gilles, Gilles and Gilles for tomorrow.

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