Our First Soccer Tournament

At five years old Tom was mad keen on soccer. His first tournament in Westville North was cause for great excitement. His team wore orange bibs and tackies and he played everywhere on the field and in the goals. Which he didn’t like. Boring, Dad.

Tom Soccer 008.jpg

He preferred the role of full-field chaser:

Tom on the ball, with Soccer Ma coaching

Champion Soccer Mom was there in full force and voice. That’s her on the right, Mom of triplets Yaya, Yasir and __. She was great, shouting encouragement and advice to all, especially her kids, TomTom and the star player for the orange bibs, Ntutuka. Here are her triplets in orange, on the left, 3rd from left and on the ball:

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Supporters traveled from afar to support their favourite team. God-parents Dizzi and Jon live a few hundred metres up the road so made the trek to cheer on their hero:

Tom first soccer tournament collage 1

Essential support came from the team manager Sir Aitch Ferguson:

Mom fusses over Tom

and the expert coach and tactician Me Mourinho – wearing a Galatasaray S.K cap (that’s Turkey’s best soccer club, turkey!):

Tomaldinho gets invaluable advice from his coach

After the game that all-important thank you team handshake. Tom not exactly the tallest team member:

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Later tournaments required more kit. We HAVE to have these latest and greatest boots, Dad! We simply CAN’T play without them! Us superstars need our bling!

Tom soccer tournament 7yrs old
Tom soccer tournament 7yrs old
Tom kneels getting instructions from coach
Real boots and a real coach!

Tomaldinho! I was seeing dollars sign$ I was going to sign him up with Amazulu – No Dad!! PSG in Paris!! Oh. My bad.

But then suddenly it was rugby. RUGBY Dad! I need new boots. You can’t play rugby in soccer boots, Dad! I’m a rugger player now!

 

 

Green Cheese

A well-known tactic of the name-remembering incompetent is to use one ‘name’ for everyone when you can’t remember their names. In the sixties Uncle Jack Kemp used to call everyone ‘Cock’. ‘Hello Cock!’ he’d say and you could see his mind racing: Just WHO is this again? I mean, I know him but what’s his name again?! ‘How’re you Cock?’ In the eighties Peppy Peeperkorn, a delightful nurse friend at Addington Hospital when I was sentenced to live there by the army used to call everyone ‘Chicken Legs’! ‘Hey, Chicken Legs! What you doin’?’

I sometimes use Green Cheese: Have you fed Green Cheese yet? WHO!? You know: TC, Matt, Bogie, Shadow, Sambucca! SAMBUCCA! You know I meant Sambucca.

So I made the mistake of asking Tom after one of his home school lessons: ‘What did old Green Cheese teach you today?’ He cracked up and has called his tutor Green Cheese ever since, my protests and explanation and Hey, you don’t DO that! falling on delighted deaf ears.

This morning I overheard him as he walked in to start his lesson “Hey! That’s my chair! It’s made for my arse, not an old Green Cheese arse!’

He should get a klap on his ear from his older, bigger, cleverer, more capable, more focused third year economics student tutor, but instead – as so often with Tom – he gets away with it.

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A’s and Oy!s

You’ve heard all those “Rich People’s Problems” jokes?
Today (this was in 2016) I heard a big “Indian People’s Problem”.

Went to Italtile to fetch yet another farking expensive something or other. This time tile mosaic for Tom’s shower floor. R990 just to cut it – tile price excluded.

So my saleslady says “How’s Tommy?” – she’s been planning “Tommy’s Bathroom” and “Jessie’s Bathroom” the last weeks, so she’s an old hand.

I say (mistake – should have stuck to the tried-and-tested “fine thanks”):

“He’s battling at school. It’s exam time, and he’s not interested in studying”.

“I KNOW!!” she exclaims “My 13yr old son is THE SAME! He came back from these exams with two B’s! He dropped his “all A’s” just because he won’t learn. I TOLE him: “You won’t get anywhere if you don’t shine up!”

I’m a diplomat. One who would give his left leg for two B’s. I jis nodded.

Accurate Reporting

In the 2016 rugby season I wrote:

Affies came to Westville this past weekend and SLAUGHTERED us. I don’t think we won a single rugger match. Our firsts lost 65-0.

Today the local free rag arrived and I caught a glimpse of the sport heading and did a double-take:

“Westville slays Pretoria giant”

Turns out only the hockey received any coverage in the paper!

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In true journalistic tradition I sent the headline, and not the rugby news, to my full-of-Elon Pretoria Boys High Old Boy china.

Lost Talent

I’ve lost my beautiful singing voice! All of a sudden even I don’t think I sing wonderfully anymore! The kids have never thought so, philistines, and will ask me after the opening bar “Please don’t sing, Dad”. In fact I’ve used it as a weapon: “Want me to sing to you?” sometimes gets them to behave pronto.

Even the neighbourhood kids give a resounding NO THANKS PETE! when I suggest I sing to them in Italian instead of putting Nicky Minaj on the car stereo.

Aitch was the only person who ever said “I love it when you sing” but then she also called me “My handsome oke” so I pinch-of-salted her compliment. She would always ask me to sing “the evening song” when we were driving after dark: Kris Kristofferson’s “Best of all possible worlds”. Of course that’s mainly  gruffly mumbled, so that helped.

Of course I used to sing beautifully. The teacher who trained the seunskoor in Harrismith Laerskool  said so. I was a soprano and looked down on the altos who, though necessary as backup, weren’t in the same league as us squeakers. One directly behind me used to bellow in my ear: ‘Dek jou hol met bowse off hollie!’ FalalalaLA lalalala’

One day the discerning teacher Juffrou Cronje, chose me to sing a solo in the next konsert.

Then tragedy struck! My balls dropped. They handled it very diplomatically. By ignoring it and cancelling practice. The konsert didn’t materialise (co-incidence? Surely they didn’t cancel a concert just because one boy suffered testicular descent?) and by the time the next one came around I hadn’t been banished – just consigned to the back and asked to turn it down.

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Terry Brauer wrote: Oh Pete I am STILL laughing! But never let the kids be the judge of whether you can sing! They are just embarrassed by most of what we do anyway.  🙂

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Oh well, there’s still a lotta drinks that I aint drunk . . .

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Islamic Fundamentals

When Aitch died it was two Muslim Moms that stepped forward and calmly and without fuss saved my butt. They re-organised their lift club to include me and kept me informed of what was happening at school. I did the morning ‘deliver’ school run every third week, while they shared the afternoon ‘fetch’ school run between them, insisting I needn’t do it as I was working and they were home Moms.

Then every year they’d give ME presents “to thank me for my help”! Five and a half years they just sorted me out, reminding me of events, juggling times when needed. We were all flexible, swopping times as needed by any of us in special circumstances.

They were fundamentally fantastic.

Thank you Sarah and Katie (Saarah and Katija)!

 

Jessie’s Show & Tell – and Aitch’s Legacy

Jessie’s grade 10 class had Dr Chris Barnard and heart transplants as a subject last week.

When she told me I asked, “Did you tell them your Mama worked with him?”
Actually, no she hadn’t. She vaguely knew Mom had done it, but wasn’t confident enough to step forward. My shy Jess.

So out with Aitch’s old albums of her working next to the old sleazy charmer, still quite young back ca 1983. She says he tried his luck to get her to go out with him one night, as he apparently did with all the nubiles on the team.

And there in the pics was Aitch in theatre greens and mask: The cardio-vascular perfusionist operating the heart-lung machine – ‘the oxygenator’ – that kept the patient alive once the blood circulation had been diverted away from their own heart and lungs. And there was the famous cad watching. And there was a heart in a jar.

Aitch & Barnard at the heart-lung machine
The Prof and The Mom

Off to school went the album the next day and Jess was the focus of much attention and oohing and aahing.