Tuesday 16th March 2004

I would like to thank my friend John for his distinguished entry in my guestbook. Indeed he is right to point out that my education doesn’t begin at school and nor does it end with University. True enough to say that I must, “keep the information flowing” and I promise him for as long as I have a will, I will find a way.

As I was walking home from Uni this afternoon, I passed as I always do, Bede Park before heading into the back streets behind Narborough Road. No detailed maps exist of this park, so the closest location I could find was here. About six or seven groups of guys, numbering around five each, were playing football across the park. Okay, not a new phenomenon by any mark, but it was interesting to watch anyway. There is something that inspires me, inspires me inside when I see a football being kicked across the park. Jumpers for goal posts. I suppose it takes me back to the more innocent time of my childhood. Break times spend honing those skills, in preparation for the big match at lunchtime. Sweet sweet memories. I have never been a good football player. I will be the first to admit that. I was one of those individuals picked last during those lunch time games, and my face would light up in an unimaginable glow, when the word, “Teg” was proclaimed by one of the captains. Those days are a long and distant memory and for a change, I’m not bitter at their recollection. Seeing all these guys having a kick around, wanted me to burst onto the field, dropping my jacket and sports bag in the process, running towards a game being played. Shouting with great enthusiasm, “I’m open!”. Be passed the ball by some face in the distance. Take the ball in an effortless swoop, take precise control with my next touch. With the goal in my sights, I picture the move I want to complete in my head, and then within an split second execute the shot. The ball flies across the air, and the keeper positions himself to make the catch, but it’s too late, the ball is far beyond his reach. The curling shot flies beyond the keeper and into the back of the net! I rush towards the centre of the park in made celebration, knowing that these guys must have some heavy words of disgust on their lips, as I circle back around ending my celebration. Calmly I pick up my jacket and bag, then with a ice cold maneuver of a man in full control, I walk off the park and head home. The exhilaration of the past moment has gone and I’m back in reality. I suppose, my daydream appears more the foundations of a television commercial rather than some stupid fantasy. We can dream, can’t we? Football has been an important aspect in my life, from a very early age. I remember being taught the rules, during he course of a game at my first school, Shelburne Country First School (now Chepping View) in the late 1980s. Then, I was playing the game more of the sake of belonging to my peer group, than for the sheer enjoyment of the sport. It is only in recent years that major international tournaments have coincided with major ‘goalposts’ in my own life. However, I have mentioned that before, and quite recently if my memory serves me correctly. The images of this afternoon, brought back memories of a time which remains far behind me. So much has happened since then. So much water has flowed under that bridge. Friends have come and gone and indeed, others have gone to a greater place. I do at times wonder if things had panned out differently, if they were still here with me, somehow somewhere. Not too far, but then too close. I know they are up there smiling. I hope they feel I am making the right choices and doing the right things, for the life they were unable to see through to the end. I just hope they realise, that although I never got the chance to say goodbye. To say good bye in the ‘proper’ sense, they are forever in my thoughts and my heart.

Tonight the rain is falling
Full of memories of people and places
And while the past is calling
In my fantasy I remember their faces

The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we had to try
The game will never be over
Because we’re keeping the dream alive

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