No-Ball Philosophy.

I don’t know what happened to me, i grew up to have a particular dislike of participating in any kind of sport, just like that. Well, i watch football when i can or when i have little else to do, days when the Missus has nothing entertaining to watch on Telly and i just flip to Super Sport and land on an EPL game.

You see, i love my woman and am not the kind to fight over the remote eti coz she wants to watch some fake ass Mexican drama and i want to watch Messi trying to overdo Ronaldo chasing a leather ball. No, I’m not that kind. If football finds me in a good mood i will watch. If there is something good on Discovery or Nat Geo wild i will watch the latter but flip to Super Sport during breaks.

I have a friend of mine, Lole is his name. He is an ardent football fanatic and should there be a power blackout on Match Day when Arsenal are playing he almost goes crazy, he does. He bites at his fingers, scratches his head and asks the wife what he will do coz the power is out. The wife tells him to change his son’s messy diaper or make dinner and he retorts, “Haiya, hio si ni kukaliwa chapatti sasa?”

I am an Arsenal fan too, i feel bad when we lose and cheerful when we win. I will however not go hurling insults at Man United fans telling them the best they can do since Old man Fergie left is to have referees on their payroll. I hear Lole saying this a lot and in the spirit of good “gunner-ship” i agree with him and tell him that we still have time (i have no idea when the league is ending) to prove to Man Useless that this time we are taking the trophy to The Emirates!

But loving football is a man thing, correct? It’s what men are supposed to do over the weekend with the boys. It’s what brings us together- the spirit of the game. During games men make friends and hang out together by virtue of supporting the same team. We teach our children to play ball when they are still young. It’s considered cool hanging out with your son on Sunday afternoon playing football together on the drive way as the mother watches from the window, smiling at the sweet dad-son moment. To her it is fatherly and romantic, to us it is a way of telling the boy, ‘listen son, this is THE man’s game-live , eat, drink and sleep football!’

Am not certain i will teach my boy to sleep and eat football, no. Play with him, yes, but it’s totally up to him if he wants to play netball or Polo. No, not Polo, am doubtful about ever affording a horse for that. If they have a minor polo league where one is allowed to ride a donkey and hit the ball with a walking stick then i can comfortably get him even two sets of that!

In Nyeri High i never participated in any serious sports until we got a new Principal, Patrick, who chewed up the existing constitution drafted by the late Father Hillary making it mandatory for all students to participate in at least one sport. A brown dude called Gichuki actively participated in three sports; rugby, football and basketball, excelling in all of them!

I had several choices- football (never seemed to kick the ball far enough), rugby (hell to the no, not with my tiny frame), basketball (let’s be honest here, basketball in Nyeri High was a guarded affair, like team slots only belonged to a particular click of people), volleyball (only because Gusto, our cute Mrs. Museveni look alike was the patron, but no)!

I tried athletics and i wasn’t surprised when i came last, somebody has to be number last you know, so i gave up on it.

After much deliberation, i settled for hockey in the hope that if i had a bone to pick with someone on the field i would just hockey stick their damn legs and no one would suspect foul play!

So i started training hard for a slot in team A, i made it to team B though. Our coach was a Physics teacher who went by the nickname ‘Sorghum’; not because he was a prolific Sorghum farmer but coz his favorite cheap broth was made from it. He didn’t like me much so he demoted me to team C, which basically meant i was just going to be a fan with the special privilege of having a Hockey stick to my name!

There was this one time when we had to practice with the cream team, more like be their punching bags. I mean, the guys would just swing the sticks and hit the tiny ball so hard we had to move out of the way. They would then do this thing of blocking us from the ball with their asses then making an abrupt turn with the hockey stick raised high and smack the ball as if it were the devil’s bum. I for one would scamper in such situations; i was never built for such unnecessary roughness, not me!

A minute later am chasing the ball around and i swing my stick to hit. This guy, Ephantus ,appears too quickly in my way and the swing misses his mid leg by a millimetre! I swear, had he moved just a millimetre more i would have broken his leg like a twig!

Sorghum would curse me and remind me that it was the reason i was in Team C. I would never make it to Team A even if i spent a decade in Nyeri High, he said. He then ordered me to be part of a human wall formed to stop the tiny ball from crossing over to our half of the field. Am there, squatting as if am waiting to pounce on a grasshopper or something and the ball comes my way, Sorghum shouts at me to block it, i do and the damn ball just takes a stroll on my inclined stick and finds a soft landing spot on guess whose face? Ephantus!.

Guy falls down writhing in pain. I’m shocked. Sorghum is pissed off and he showered me with a gallon of saliva as he was barking instructions at me to walk off the field. The guy’s face gets swollen and he looked like he was chewing a huge amount of gum.

Ephantus, who was my classmate, did not speak to me or like a week, i even gave him a quarter piece of bread in the evening out of guilt.

And that was the last time i associated myself with anything sporty!


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