Tuesday, July 5

Task 7: introduce a new sport.

In solidarity with all those silently suffering schoolkids who are as crap at football now as I was thirty years ago, I propose that we turn our shared affliction into a competitive advantage. Presenting: The "Last To Be Picked" Champions League.

Objective: To be the last person to be picked for the football team, on the maximum number of occasions.

Scoring: One point for every time you are picked last. Points are accumulated over the school football season, with the winner being announced at the end of the season.

Tactics: To be picked last, it is important to demonstrate your absolute crapness at football, at all times. Ball avoidance is therefore critical. You should aim to place yourself strategically around the pitch, ensuring maximum distance from the ball wherever possible.

On those unavoidable occasions where the ball does come your way, the best tactic is to grimace and flinch. Turning yourself away from the ball is an excellent manoeuvre. Out of sight, out of mind! If in doubt, simply deny the ball's existence.

If the ball hits your foot, then get rid of it immediately. Direction is immaterial. Don't make an overt show of always passing it to the opposition, as this smacks of latent skill, and might lead to your being found out.

(Yes, this is a secret mission. It is crucial that you should appear at all times to be making no effort whatsoever.)

Those who are picked last are traditionally placed in defence, as it is reckoned that they will do less damage this way. This is an excellent position for you to be in. Whenever the ball is up at the other end of the pitch, you should consolidate this position by standing stock still and staring into space, with a vacant, slightly gormless expression.

Alternatively, you can crouch down and either re-tie your bootlaces or search the pitch for four-leafed clovers.

At this point, you may also care to sing softly to yourself. Our recommended song is Bohemian Rhapsody, as it is quite long and comes in several sections. The experienced player can actually measure his remaining time on the pitch in Bohemian Rhapsodys, or BRs. ("Only 2.5 BRs to go, and then I'll be safely back in the changing room.")

An alternative strategy is to strike up a conversation with your fellow defender(s). This should be disconsolate in nature, and whining in tone. (A classic opener: "My ears are really really cold.") This has become known as the Mothers' Meeting gambit. However, you should be aware that your fellow defender may well be playing the same game as you - so be careful not to play into their hands.

Bonus points. Once you have been selected for the team, a bonus point will be awarded for every fellow team member who greets your inclusion with the traditional groan: "Oh no, we've got [insert surname] again." Bonus points will also be awarded for own goals, hand-balls, injuries (real or feigned), and audible sobbing.

Points will be deducted for whooping, cheering, successful tackling, goal scoring or any other overt displays of competence.

This is a concept whose time has come. To all those who, like me, were born with the special gift of two left feet, I say: throw off your shackles, stand up tall, and celebrate your crapness.

28 Comments:

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