Watching the Soccer

A rare childfree weekend, rather unfortunately timed in the middle of the exciting bit of the World Cup. And an opportunity to go and watch my dear husband play soccer his very self. No really, having spent decades doing this, here's what you do.

You need a folding chair. You need an extra jacket because you'll never be as cold as you'll be watching soccer, even if the sun is out. You'll need a hat with a visor, that winter sun will give you even more eye wrinkles. And you'll need a fair bit of entertainment, you'll be there for a good two hours and some of it, if you'll credit it, isn't terribly enthralling.

I've brought my constant companion, my iPad mini. My plan is to revise the marks and comments I've given to student presentations through the week, start marking the written unit plans that have started to come in, look over a module or two of the course I'm supposed to be studying. I've already had a chat with the Moose in Greece, but as soon as I offered to turn on the camera so he could watch his father play soccer he had to go and have breakfast. In reality I'll probably play a bit of Farmville and hang out on Twitter.

I've also brought my knitting bag with a selection of wool. I have forgotten the circular needles I bought against the advice of the lady in the knitting shop who said it was perfectly simple to knit a beanie on a set of six double ended needles. Or eight, I forget. Either way, I won't be teaching myself to use them this afternoon, but I do have a crochet hook, I could start another beret.

Yes, I suppose I should be watching the soccer. But here's what I can see right now.

I've been here for more than half an hour and all I've seen is a lot of stretching and about a kilometre of strapping tape applied. Also heard quite a bit a sage advice given, kick the ball to the feet, pass it around, remember to have a shot. Most of these guys have been playing for about forty years, you think they would have got the hang of that kind of thing by now.

If we win this game and every other game, we're guaranteed to be top of the table. Our fate is entirely in our own hands says the husband, ignoring a lifetime of experience of how soccer works.

The husband is playing injured. He was contemplating not playing at all, that's how injured he is. He said his hamstring should be Ok so long as he doesn't sprint. Have a guess what he's been doing. Go on, you never will. I keep expecting his leg to split open and spill its contents on the ground. Then it will match the front of his other leg where he's actually torn one of the quadricep muscles off the bone, causing it bunch up and look like a tumour. Play a team sport, it's good for your health.

Actually, it's very pleasant, sitting comfortably by the Cooks River as the shadows lengthen on a perfect winter afternoon.

Opposition keeper just jiggled slowly past me to gather in the ball. I suppose you don't get much exercise being keeper, and if you carry a bit of extra weight, you're just blocking that bit more of the goal. It makes sense.

Opposition score. Probably because husband has very sensibly taken himself off, they just can't cope without him. Having seen so much World Cup I kind of feel like I need to see the replay.

A bit of aggressive play up front by a petite man in a ponytail who makes a living, I'm reliably informed, repairing woodwind instruments. Tensions are running high in the top end of our team. Some language unsuitable for the kiddies. It does sometimes bring out the caveman in the most mild mannered. But they did almost get a goal several times, it was quite exciting.

Put your name on the ball. Another classic from the lexicon. Drop! Drop! Boys, lets start enjoying it, lets get hungry. Space! Man on, one of the first ones I learnt. Up the line. Pressure. Who's got the far post?

Half time and its one nil, but not our way. As always, a scrum of little boys appears from nowhere to play penalties in the now vacant goal. The shadows have lengthened past me, causing me to zip up my polar fleece. I may be compelled to go for a brisk walk. Around the field of course, wouldn't want to miss anything.

A few free kicks being awarded, not malicious I don't think, but the brains underneath those grey heads are moving considerably faster than the camphorated legs. One of our players advises everyone to refrain from Doing a Suarez, causing general merriment. Especially as it really hasn't been that kind of game, I've at no point felt that this one will end up with the police being called. Some cross words, certainly.

There's a body on the field. I wonder if they have stretchers? He's close enough to the side to be dragged off by the ankles. Ah no, an application of the magic water and he's back in action.

Uh oh, husband's putting himself back on, but they need a bit of speed up front. Oh noes, another goal has been scored, and also not by us. Our backs have slowed considerably. Annnnnnd it's the final whistle. “Ah, f… you”, says one of our team, warmly embracing an opposition scorer. Well, that's nice, all friends at the end. I didn't get any knitting done after all, but a deeply pleasant afternoon nonetheless. Do I see beer being handed around? Excuse me for a moment.