We were over in Bolton for the night – Daughter Number One played on of the lead roles in ‘The Nerd’, with the Marco Players. It’s a play which deserves to be far more widely known: it’s clever, funny and a grand night out.
But being over in Bolton on Friday night means being over in Bolton for Saturday morning. And Saturday morning, for twin grandsons nine years old Alex and Ben, means only one thing. It’s match day for their footie team. They play for Turton Tigers. Parents, grandparents and associated hangers-on play at being supporters.
The thing about being a supporter is that it involves being cold. We knew that only too well when Daughter Number Two played away matches for a hockey team in Harrogate. Nowhere is colder and windier than a hockey pitch made from a reclaimed slag heap somewhere outside South Elmsall. Except perhaps a community football pitch somewhere in Bolton. It might be May at the moment, the tail end of the season, but wrap up warm. Find your woolly socks. Don’t forget your hat.
Football is a closed book to me. I can’t tell which shots are amazingly good, and which ones might be astonishingly bad. I can’t understand why it seem to be OK when the ball goes off the pitch. It was never allowed in netball I seem to recall. I can’t tell when a ball has even half a chance of getting between the goalposts. I can’t join in those conversations which Malcolm is able to initiate on the lines of how very much the team has improved and matured since last we saw them play a few months ago. I try hard not to clock-watch.
It’s lovely to see the boys giving it their all, to see their enjoyment, determination and sheer physical fluency. I just wish I knew what was going on
But I’ve realised we may have a get-out clause. Last Saturday was their first defeat in an unbroken nine week run of success. The time before when we watched them play they lost as well. And the time before that. I think the boys are beginning to observe a pattern. Next time we visit, we may be forbidden from watching. Oh dear.
It’s OK, Alex and Ben. I don’t mean I don’t enjoy watching you two. But you hit the nail on the head a few weeks ago Ben. You’d been talking animatedly and without pausing for breath for several minutes about (of course) football. Suddenly you stopped and regarded me pityingly. ‘Granny’, he said, ‘You haven’t understood a word I’ve been saying, have you?’. And I’d been trying so hard…..