Friday, February 16, 2007

Come With Me On Journey Through Time And Space.......



Ok, let's get this one out the way, 'cos otherwise I'll just mope about it and make everyone's life a misery.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MEHEEEE............da de da da da da......

65 today folks. Woo!

Anyway, in line with the "Feeling My Age" theme, I went for a walk today and happened to pass the football pitches where I made my debut as a schoolboy footballer. Most people will tell you they weren't up to much at football, even if they were captain of the school team.....I scoff at them for the self deprecating closet show offs they are. I on the other paw was truly abysmal. Playground football was another matter. That was fun, no pressure, no positions, just run about and chase the baw. The irony is that this is how I made it to both the school team and the boys club team attached to the school. I arrived at Dunard St in 1987 (P7) and of course I'd get involved in playground games. I think I remember once getting the ball one lunchtime and beating about four guys before falling on my arse as I tried to score. It made no odds though, they thought I was dead good, so I got nominated by my peers for trials with the boys club and I seemed to be a cert for the school team too. My first fuck up was to tell the guy at the Boys Club I was a defender. I WAS FUCKING NOT!!!! I couldn't pass water, I couldn't tackle a fish supper and quite frankly, I had my eyes shut a good two seconds before I attempted to header a ball. Why did I say I was a defender when I was quite obviously a winger or a centre forward? Fuck only knows.....Maybe it was to do with confidence. Maybe I thought I could hide in defence, not be too conspicuous as a right back.....



How wrong I was. I don't remember much, but what I do recall is not seeing much of the ball and when I did have the ball, passing it to the guys in the wrong shirts. I also once tried tackling someone with disastrous results. The poor cunt probably still has the stud rash to this day. The thing I remember most was his team mates talking about and pointing at me like I was Jack The Ripper. I also hated training nights. The five-a-side games were ok I suppose, but even then I was probably dreaming of fulfillment that didn't involve running about a blaze pitch on a Sunday morning in a nylon shirt and shorts.

Anyway, back to my walk this afternoon. The Clouston Street pitches are no more. There used to be two sets of pitches and a set of floodlight pylons for each, as well as a club house. The area seems to be designated for housing now and consists of nothing more than the rusting and dilapidated floodlight pylons, young trees, overgrown grass, beer cans and smashed bottles. If you take notice of the path through it used by dog walkers and short cutters you will see what remains of the original red grit surface familiar to many Scottish schoolboys of a certain age. I'm not sad to see the back of the red blaze pitches. Ok, so astro turf can give you nasty burns, but the old grit pitches could lift more than just a layer of skin, I've seen it.



It was more than just nostalgia though. It was the realisation that it was over twenty years since I'd trotted out onto the very same ground I was revisiting and that in some ways it felt like the distance between what had happened in my life and what had happened to the pitches was somehow disproportionate.

14 comments:

Kav said...

Happy birthday sir! I have vivid memories of that evil blaze from my youth too...how they expected anyone to play well on it is a mystery to me. All you had to do was touch the stuff and it would've cut you to shreds.

Have a good one.

Kim Ayres said...

Happy Birthday - hope it was a good one.

I was seriously crap at football as a kid - the captains really did argue about who didn't want me on their team. I grew up to passionately loathe the game.

lism. said...

65? And you don't look a day over 40. Hope you had a good one xx

ill man said...

Kav - Cheers mate. Ah yes, blaze pitches, rock hard Mitres and the smell of Ralgex in the morning......

Kim - I was crap but enthusiastic I suppose. Good enough for the playground but not up to scratch on a full sized pitch.

Lism - Cheers! People keep snorting in dis-belief when I tell them my age. It's part of the reason for the beard I think, so I can get served......;)

Pam said...

Happy birthday !

iLL Man said...

Cheers Pam!

Sandra said...

Happy birthday! We are almost twins, except that I don't have the beard.

Jools said...

Happy Birthday Ill - hope you had a good un'
hugs on ya

alan said...

belated happy birthday, and from 'mutton pies' betty!

iLL Man said...

Sandra - I noticed that. The beard thing as well.

Jools - Yeah, I had a great weekend.

Alan - Thankyou. And you Betty....
;D

Billy said...

What a slacker, I am, I've only just noticed this. Hope yr birthday was fun.

FlyingRodent said...

Well, I'm even more of a slacker in that case - a very, very belated happy birthday!

Hope it was a good one...

FlyingRodent said...

And Blogger sucks, and I suck at using it.

iLL Man said...

Billy, Rodent, thankyou you lovely little munchkins. Now, where are my fucking presents?

Just kidding. It was fine, no cake but I did have a rather fine long weekend to myself.