Dropped from the Football Team
As I said, at the end of the interrogation Pinkie added insult to injury – or rather he added injury to injury. He told me that I would no longer be selected for the football team. I had been a member of the Championship winning team the previous year. I had played my part in the triumph.
However, that didn’t count for anything. There were other considerations.
That was a severe blow. I mean it was a really severe blow. I loved playing for the team – but the conditions of playing were no longer acceptable.
I must say that, at the time, I didn’t really piece it all together. I couldn’t work out why Pinkie had turned against me. It was about half way through the season that I got suddenly dropped – maybe a little before half way.
Announcing the Team
I remember that Pinkie would come to the junior recreation hall to read out the team. I was the only one who didn’t crowd round to hear it. I got on with whatever I was doing before. I did keep my ears opened. I hoped against hope that one week I might hear my name called out. After all, the second season wasn’t going so well and we were falling behind in the Championship.
Perhaps Pinkie might have a change of heart and pick me. Although I didn’t come over to hear the team news I used to keep my ear open and listen to Pinkie as he dramatically read out the team one by one.
Each week as the team was read out and with each name that was read out it was a like a dagger through my heart. Even when nine and ten names had been read out and they weren’t mine I still retained a hope.
But each week was the same. I wouldn’t say I was the best, age for age, in the team but there were people in the team in my position who would not have said that they were as good as me. People wondered why I was no longer picked.
“You’ll probably get picked this week” they would say.
One week, as everybody went over to hear the team news, a guy that I was playing draughts with got up to go over and said to me “are you not going over? You might be in the team”.
Pinkie had actually picked me the week before for our one and only second team game. Not only that, he had picked me as captain. Whilst the first team had lost we hammered the second team and I scored a load of goals. From memory I think we won 8-1 and I got five of them. Perhaps my period of exclusion was over. Perhaps my performance might get me back in the team.
I didn’t go over. I didn’t dare think I would be in the team. But I listened very intently as the team was read out one by one. Maybe Pinkie had a heart after all. It would be great to come back into the team. It would be great, to be frank, not to be generally an ‘excludee’ with Pinkie.
However, my name was not read out that day. In fact it was never read out again. My punishment was final. My exclusion was sine die.
Even when I was in the seniors and was still eligible to play I wasn’t picked. It was even more painful that the guy from third year that they picked was nowhere near as good as I was, to my mind. He even said that himself and he was even a bit guilty about it.