Oh for another few inches ! *
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It began with a mustard yellow top,
all too similar to Banks in ’66.
Too long, almost down to my knees.
I had to be prised out of it, and
watched as it rotated, with suds,
behind thick glass, how I worried
that it would lose some of that
Then there was my first pair of
“goalie” gloves. Cloth mesh fabric
with strips of rubber glued on,
How quickly those bits peeled away
inevitably littering nearby fields.
Every spare moment spent flinging
my body at a ball, even when it
was not necessary to dive, trying
to keep it out of the gap between
jumpers, young trees, hockey posts
and, eventually, proper goals.
Chased away from the largest
pitch and putt green in winter,
they were great to play on.
Home, covered in mud, displeasing
house proud mum, who saw no value
in any games.
The years went past, and I waited
to grow as tall as my dad. It never
happened that way.
I spent my mid teens, like Shilts,
hanging from bannisters, weights
tied to legs, or performing ridiculous
stretching exercises. My arms got
tired, but grew no longer either.
It’s a strange life, when your only
ambition is to be a hairless orang otang.
A full stop was reached at five
feet and seven inches.
A keeper trapped in a wingers frame.
Having to be content as a stand in.
That was the verdict of coaches,
teachers, captains and peers..
“Good, but not tall enough”.
Found my niche in five a side,
under canvas, until I got too old
to fling my body onto concrete floors.
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