|[ The Art of Losing
We used to be called the mighty
"Red Ants"! If truth be known, this was not a name that inspired much fear
amongst the opposition whose nicknames ran to things like the "Insect Crunching
Bone Suckers" (or somesuch). We got our nom-de-guerre because (picture
this, please) from high above, in a plane or a blimp for example, our scurrying
team's bright red shirts would be the only thing you could see on the playing
field and could, therefore, be compared to a human watching ants on the
ground. What imagination, these old footy giants must have had! The red
colour also managed to hide the blood which flowed freely whenever we met
a really good team like the Randwick "Serial Killers" (or somesuch). Our
main long term nemesis was a team from nearby who were dressed in blue
and white and so must have been aligned to the "Sharks". However, I can't
remember their real alt.name and so, just to make me feel better, I'll
call them the "Whoosy Blue Fishies" : ahhhh, that's better.
We'd just been beaten by these
fishy-wishys (again) and, horror of horrors, it must have been a final
because all of my family were there to watch me. I walked towards them
with a metaphysical cloud of angry flashing and spitting just above my
cranium although my demeanor was outwardly calm as always. Their goddamned
hangdog 'oh, so
sorry for me' looks made my anger boil over into a simply
barked "F**K"! Now the main thing that you have to realize is that I was
a 'very good boy' - nice, quiet, considerate, kind to animals, etc, etc,
etc and, although one of the first words I ever uttered was 'bugger', this
was the worst expletive that I'd ever expleted in their presence.
Their reactions were quite varied.
My brother and his wife gave each other a little, sideways look that stated
subtly 'so, he DOES know those words'. My mum looked entirely shocked to
the core - the only other time that I got a similar reaction from her was
when I finally told her that I was going to move out of home. My dad, who
was usually quite unreadable, just about gave me a slap around the ears
and said something like 'ya mug! be a better loser' (or somesuch). I was
quickly embarrassed by the ensuing silence but I still didn't say 'sorry'
- the almost ritual beating at the hands of the "Whoosy Blue Fishies" would
stay in the forefront of my mind for the next week or so.
However, I never did swear so
virulently in front of my parents again - I told ya that I was a
'very good boy'.