Game 9, 2018-19
It's snowed all morning, and I hold off leaving the house in case there's a late call to postpone the match, a lunch-time kick-off in the City B League. It isn't that I necessarily want the game to be called off, but the prospect of several hours of unexpected free time on a Sunday afternoon has its attractions.
|Just about playable, with help from a shovel.|
So because I leave the house later than usual, and cycle at first to the wrong ground, I end up arriving cold and wet with just half an hour until kick-off. There's half an inch of snow on the grass pitch, but both teams are eager to play. "Have you got an orange ball?" I ask after looking at the surface, which is moist underneath. They do. Will they promise to play sensibly and help me out with touchline calls? Oh, of course.
Things start gently enough as the players adjust to the conditions. There are numerous short passes that get stuck in the snow, and several players from both sides flail for balance and slide around on their arses. I wonder whether or not it was wise to let them loose. The home team goes 1-0 up after 15 minutes with a penalty for a full-on foul by the away team's captain. He's the only one who bothers to complain, citing the word "body", which you hear a lot. It translates as, "Football is a physical sport, so what's wrong with me recklessly charging into a player and flattening him?"
Then there's another B-League staple - the collective roar of outrage at an offside decision. The away team's number 5 screams at me by way of re-interpretating this law in his favour. "Shut your mouths