What I fear about FOOTBALL is the obsession with BALLS. What I loathe about BALLS is the sheer bloody MACHISMO. What I dislike about MACHISMO is EVERYTHING there is. What I object to about EVERYTHING is its overwhelming BIGNESS I don’t like BIGNESS because it makes me feel SMALL. I don’t want to feel SMALL because I’m not UNIMPORTANT. I hate feeling UNIMPORTANT because NOBODY is. I’m unhappy about NOBODIES because the term is so INSULTing. I hate INSULTS when they scorn the WEAK. I fear for the WEAK who may well fail at SPORT. I totally despite SPORT because it attracts CROWDS. I don’t like CROWDS because they follow the PACK MENTALITY. And I am scared of the PACK MENTALITY, especially when it relates to FOOTBALL.
‘Kick her out,’ the man boomed. Stefan knew that Jonny always was determined to get his voice heard. ‘Just do it. Simple as…’
Stefan turned from Jonny’s piercing unstable gaze, smoothed his first ever goatee and shuffled a little in his position perched against a table. No way was he going to do as Jonny said, just because Jonny said it. Not only was Heather a fantastic player, when Jonny’s skills were definitely taking a downward turn, but Stefan also reckoned there might be a chance of a romance developing, if he played his cards right.
‘It’s not as simple as that. I reckon we’ve got to give her a chance. Having her on the team is awesome. She’s awesome. It can’t be easy being the only girl on the Under 18s. All the footballers. All the hormones!’ Stefan began a laugh, but stifled it after he noticed Jonny’s expression. The thug had jutted out his jawline and pelvis simultaneously, looking like a letter C in the making. He exhaled as he jutted.
‘Kick her out. It’s easy. Get it done,’ Jonny demanded once again, scratching an itchy patch stimulated by his pelvic jutting.
‘But think about it, Jonny. Why? She’s a miracle in motion. She’s like a terrier the way she gets the ball.’
‘She’s good to look at, Stefan, but she can’t shoot!’ Jonny’s cheeks and forehead glowed.
‘You can’t shoot either, Jonny. At any rate, she’s a defender, and she’s little and strong and wiry. She’s brilliant and she’s been through the same trial period you all have. She’s good at what she does, and the rest of the team like her too. So, no way is she getting sacked. Coach agrees. She’s one of our best assets. ’
Stefan, the club’s assistant coach for the past seven months, was beginning to regret his decision to continue this role till the end of the season, for he suspected that Jonny Hart would make his life miserable till he got his way. But he’d no intention of letting Heather go. She was 17, and he was only 18 himself. He liked her. He more than liked her. He admired her. More than that too – she made his ankles tremble.
‘Have it your own way, Stefan. But I’ll tell you this. You’re letting all this power go to your head. Coach should no way have given you the team selection job. No doubt about it. You’ll see, when it comes back to bit you on the arse.’
Jonny stormed from the clubhouse, virtually colliding with Heather on the way in.
‘Look what you’ve done!’ Jonny shouted, and Heather apologised, though clearly no apology was necessary.
‘What’s up with him?’ she said as she neared Stefan. ‘What did I do?’
‘Nothing, Heather. With him it’s enough if other people just live.’
Heather pushed her floppy red fringe behind her ear. ‘I’ve worked that one out.’
She cleared her throat. ‘Coach has just given me the tickets for the club dance. I’m to sell them to all the age groups and supporters. Twenty pounds each. You want any?’
Holding out the pile of tickets, Heather sat herself on the edge of the table opposite Stefan and manouvered into a cross-legged position. Stefan watched her thigh muscles twitch and flex and his gaze carried down her leg to the purple football socks, and matching boots. Her calves were tremendous – so well defined that he could trace the shape even through the thick ribbing.
Feeling sure that Heather must have noticed him staring at her lower half, Stefan attempted to look away, to move his body, or to even answer her question – anything but continue the awkward silence and the feeling that she surely must be perceiving him as nothing more than a pervert. But his awkwardness had meant that he failed to notice the very things that would have made him feel better. Heather was looking back at him with a warm smile, she was crinkling her eyes, and she was playing with her carroty fringe. Her head cocked to one side, she had no sooner got herself settled on the table, than she was already moving towards Stefan, with a tiny, nervous giggle.
‘Stefan, I want to ask you something.’
‘Sure. Anything,’ he spluttered as she extracted a ticket from the pile in her hand.
‘Fancy coming with me?’
‘Sure. Anything,’ he repeated, shakily taking the ticket from her hand while attempting to control the tremble in his ankles. ‘I’ll pay, of course.’
Wow. Success with a lady at last, and a dynamic and beautiful sportswoman at that.
‘I’ll buy mine, you buy yours, OK? And, Stefan?’
‘Don’t you think that Jonny is becoming a liability? I think you should kick him out.’
Stefan couldn’t help but nod his head, and pull the young woman towards him, his hand gently crushing her purple and orange strip top while her hand snaked under his.
He would go to the dance, and he would sack Jonny Hart, and both activities would be extremely beneficial for the team’s success. They wouldn’t do him any harm either.