"The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought, with some reason, that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. But the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." - Albert Camus
I often find myself, during games, sliding into a deep trance as Dave's hypnotic hips turn him round and round in ever smaller circles. I get a better vantage point than most, a few yards behind him and about ten to his side, but I'm told wherever you are on the pitch, it's a beautiful sight.
"Look at that!" I think to myself, while I'm probably meant to be doing something useful.
But the joy doesn't last long, because nine times out of ten, Dave's endeavors will have been in vain and then he will scowl. Or swear in Italian, while doing that thing that Italians do where they look like they're holding an imaginary hand puppet up to their chin. Then, I feel guilty for my pleasure, like I've just been applauding an elephant that can walk on its hind legs, only to notice tears in it's eyes.
At moments like these, I remember the legend of King Sisyphus and feel like the sort of fool who applauds each journey up the hill, entirely missing the point that I am witnessing a man condemned to eternal torture. But then tonight I came across that quote from Camus and I thought 'well, at least Dave is consumed by an emotion strong enough to make him feel alive'. This is not a consolation as such, but I suppose I can rest easy knowing that on some level, Dave's soul is at peace.
So yeah, we played football earlier, a cup match against a side from the league below us. It was alright, a good game. We were a bit cocky beforehand, I heard someone say "Yeah, they're shit, but we're not good at playing shit teams, we might only beat them four nil or something."
So, we were looking pretty stupid when they took the lead early in the first half from a 25 yard speculative half volley. It got worse and we had to ride out a 15 minute period when we were almost totally incapable of making even the simplest passes to each other. We did well to stay in the game and our stand in keeper, Jim, did brilliantly to tip a header over the bar from one of their many corners.
Then, for no particular reason, SBFC remembered that it is easier to score goals if you pass the ball to people on the same team as you. We finished the first half much improved from the first half of the first half because in the second half of the first half we were better than we were in the beginning of the first half which was the beginning of the match when we weren't playing so well.
A constructive half time brought about a slight rejig of the midfield and an agreement to get the ball wider, faster. This strategy of the midfielders passing it to the attackers who then kick the ball into the goal reaped immediate dividends. Something weird happened up there between Colin and Steff which ended up with the ball in the net. It's hard for me to give more details (please feel free to add your comments below), I was quite a long way away.
1-1 became 2-1, mainly because we then scored another goal. Raj Chande ran on to an HCC clearance ten yards inside their half and slid a no-look reverse pass to an unmarked Steff who took one touch and finished with aplomb. It was a lovely goal and would have looked fantastic from the camera that they usually keep just inside the post.
The game then turned a bit scrappy and SBFC probably should have scored another. SBFC defended well, Sam Bebbington made an excellent defensive header with about 20 minutes left. There was a lot of long-ball-back-and-forth nonsense and that's when Dave started getting a bit annoyed, but these things happen Dave. These things happen.
Then came the most important moment of the match. HCC won a corner with one minute left on the clock. The keeper came up. THE KEEPER CAME UP! God it was exciting. It was a damned good corner too, flat and with pace, but Sam Hayhurst rose above the crowd and headed it to the edge of the box to Steff, who headed it on to Sam Greenwood, who then ran the length of pitch just about slowly enough for their keeper to get back to his goal, before sliding the ball into the net.
3-1, SBFC go through to the next round.