The excitement and tension had been building up over a period of several weeks. And at last the great day had arrived.The day of the final match of the tournament – Reds against Blues.
It must be explained that in spite of all their efforts and a number of near-misses, the Reds had not won this title for more than fifty years. Which would account for the unprecedented level of trepidation .
So, finally, the stadium is full to bursting, the two teams are on the pitch, the Reds have won the toss and the referee has blown his whistle for the kick-off.
Both teams played well; the football was of a high standard but neither the Reds nor the Blues scored in the first half.
After half time things became more animated. First the Reds scored a goal, followed closely by the Blues. And the score stood at one-all at full time.
But a final cannot end in a draw, so thirty minutes extra time was granted. To no avail. The players were doing their utmost but neither team managed to score a goal..
The rules of the Football Association concerning this situation are clear. The two trams in turn must take shots at the goal of the other/ This is known as « penalties’ .
The Blues began. A powerful shot which the Red goalkeeper could not stop. Then the Reds did the same. Again it was the turn of the Blues and then the Reds. The shots were too powerful for the goalkeepers. The score stood at three – two for the Blues. And then …..
And then it was MY turn.
I placed the ball, stepped back a few paces when suddenly I realised. It depended on ME to save the match for the Reds. I was paralysed for a moment, but somehow I managed to regain the control of myself. I had practised doing this so many times. I was a good « shooter ». So I ran and I aimed my most powerful kick at the ball.
And the Blue goalkeeper caught it in his arms as he dived out of the goal area.
It was all over. The Blues had won the title. There was still as much shouting from the fans, but it was on a different note. I did not know what to think. Was it my fault that we had lost the match? That we had lost the title for which we had waited over fifty years?
When you are in a team you know that this is not the way to reason. You know very well that football is only a game….
But is it?