I was concerned to learn what a festive sports bout was planned for Christmas this year. True, the Christmas Day Run with Daddy Mason (DM) has long been a fixture in Kate in the Countryside festivities, but I could not have known that Mother Dearest (MD) would be adding to the sporting burden. The rents, it seems, cared little that such dashing about would interrupt the murder mystery watching and compulsive eating that really ought to characterise Christmas.
|Footie: days of yore|
Of late a rabidly enthusiastic football fan, MD has taken her support for 'The Wolves' to the level of kick-about participation. So I was surprised to learn on my return home that Boxing Day was to be football day in The Countryside. Some public-spirited teacher had arranged a scurry of teams (largely composed of tiny children and old-ish women) for a high-stakes tournament.
Team MD was a motley crew. Though Mother Dearest had cannily kidnapped two chaps to uphold our footballing honour, Dogface the dog was not allowed to participate. As a result, these almost adolescent ringers were fairly vital: the rest of the team comprised a non-moving man in goal as well as three tiny children. Though enthusiastic, the children frequently disappeared off the pitch whenever Dogface (mascot) was being particularly entertaining.
'I shall be captain,' announced the younger of the two kidnapped children, Harry, adorned in full Premiership football fan attire.
|'But, Ced, I want to be captain!'|
Tale as old as time itself
'No you won't!' said MD, ruffling his hair so as not to appear patronising.
The captaincy was to go to our other ringer: blonder, charming and older. The Cedric to our Harry. Harry became sullen. So much for team bonding.
The first match began. It wasn't long before all such tiffs were forgotten at the sight of MD moving with miraculous speed towards one of our (tiny) opponents. There was a clash that drew gasps and - seconds later - a yowling infant hit the deck. Amazed at the (for her) unusual experience of being the taller, MD raced on triumphantly, ball in possession.
Our second game saw Team MD extend our dominance. MD's assassination tactics on those half her size continued contentious. When a girl with pigtails scuttled towards me - her body almost concealed behind the ball, so small was she - I was terrified of going anywhere near her. Not so MD.
Another child was floored, and the ref had had enough: 'Yellow Card! MD! If I see that again - you'll be off.'
That was the end of MD's star footballing career I'm afraid. Fearful of the Red Card, she managed to stay out of trouble, but the aggressive flair was gone. However, Team MD won the tournament, so a managerial career might be more her style.