At a recent visit to my son’s school a group of boys asked me to join in a game of football. Now, I am crap at football. I never played for a team at any level, I cannot do keepy uppy for more than 2 or 3 goes, I have no football talent whatsoever. But these were a bunch of 7-year-olds and I only had my dignity to lose so I thought what the hell.
Surrounded by small boys, when the ball landed at my feet I was, by comparison, a giant. For a few brief minutes on that greenest of grasses I was a footballing genius. I was Pele. I was George Best. I was Garrincha, Eusebio and Maradonna combined. I feinted left, I dummied to the right, my silky skills dribbled the ball from one end of the pitch to the other. I left the bodies of muddied schoolboys in my wake. I had only the keeper to beat. But then, in an act of utter selflessness, I passed the ball to the only member of my team who had managed to keep up with me, a tiny little chap who looked like he had stepped out of a Dickens novel. Never mind my personal glory I thought, here is your chance to be the hero of your classmates Tiny Tim, the ball is all yours. I timed the perfect knock back straight to his feet.
The little bastard missed, but the glory of those few moments has yet to leave me.