Posted by: Sam Olsen | May 6, 2012

The Chronicles of Larry 22: footie-tots

So I’m sitting on a beach next to Dad and one of his pals when I hear the conversation turn to sport, specifically which one is the best paid. For some reason my name keeps cropping up too, although I’m too busy contemplating how I can steal his wallet and bury it somewhere in the sand to notice.

Anyway, next thing I know Dad’s signed me up for soccer training on Tuesday mornings. (He had to reorder his credit card first of course.) I know I’m a pretty damn good mover and walker, but even so, I’m only 18 months. But I agree to give it a go, despite not really knowing what gave him the inspiration… I just hope I’m better than him, given what I hear his fellow Wednesday-night fellow players say about him. “You play an odd mix of football and karate” was one comment that sticks in the mind. “Stop fouling me” was another, more frequent one.

I arrive in this big old sports hall. Paul the coach greets us. He sounds either ill or foreign, but Dad says he’s just from Newcastle. We start warming up, kicking the ball around and making Dad run after it, dressed in his suit but just in his socks so he ‘sadly’ slips over quite a bit. So far so good.

But then it starts: the proper training. “Right, can everyone line up on this blue mat. See that other blue one?” Paul points to about 20 yards away. “On your marks, get set, and run to the mat!” What on earth?! Dad gives me a gentle push but I refuse. Since when did fun involve aimlessly running? Dad picks me up and runs along with me. I’m still not amused. “And back again!” Shouts Paul in a rather too-happy tone if you ask me.

After another 5 minutes of this hell on earth, which includes running sideways like a rather annoyed crab,we start the fun stuff. Kick, kick, kick, and that’s just the other kids. We get to pass the ball too, and then do this bizarre exercise involving beanbags being balanced on the shoulders whilst coach blows a whistle. Strange. I hate to admit it, but despite being pretty good, even I’m outshone by another boy, Franz. And yes, you guessed it, he’s German. Typical. At least I have someone to practice my sliding tackels with/on.

Soon it’s the end of my first session, and I’ve liked it quite a lot. Dad looks more tired than me, his suit jacket and tie having been ditched long ago. Looks like I’m not going to be the only one learning football.


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