Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
It was down the pub afterwards that my friend said it: “It was like our new beginning started here.” I may be a young member of my soccer club but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more difficult year in our history. At the end of the day, to use that well worn cliche, a sports club is judged by what it does on the field of play. And by any measure on the field of play we were a disaster. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing at a grade one level below professional players. Nobody likes to lose and nobody likes to lose week in and week out on heavy scorelines.
We won a scrappy game of soccer by one goal to nil. It wasn’t a pretty game by any means. We were already relegated and they couldn’t win the league. It wasn’t their best team but we didn’t mind. A 17 game losing streak was ended on the last game of the season. The goal we scored wasn’t even that great. Long ball from the keeper headed on and our left midfielder ran on and buried it. In other games lady luck had deserted us. In other games all our effort and toil had been for naught. In this game though we deserved everything we got.
You can do everything right and get nothing in life. A lot of the time you get more than you deserve from life. Lately though it has felt like whatever about justice in one life it is denied because it is ever so delayed. But on a typically overcast day in an Irish April; on a pitch that was hard underfoot; in a game that mattered to hardly anyone in the world a group of twelve players put their first three points on the board in their last game of the season.
And one guy felt warmth on his face even when there was no Sun to be seen.