So you’re gonna come and play at the park.

[this is the first of a number of backposts, due to the amount of energy put into making the show, I haven’t gotten around to writing these ideas up]

The first day you arrive don’t expect to be treated with much respect.  If you are lucky one guy will take a liking to you and may guide you around like a brother.  If you are lucky enough to get selected for one of the teams he will even take special care in passing the ball to you just to get you involved in the game.  And you will stand by his side at the end of the training awkwardly smiling whilst he chats to his mates who stare at you and occasionally offer a smile, though you are not sure if this is one of ridicule or acceptance.  

 The chances are that you won’t be picked for a team and you will have to wait on the sidelines watching patiently til about the 11.30 mark when a batch of substitutions take place.  If you get involved in a piggy-in-the-middle game on the side you will invariably end up in the middle when the decisions are fifty-fifty and even sixty-forty.  You can argue but it’s just going to make it worse.  

You are a young African boy, only been in the country for 3 weeks and that guy you met through a friend told you to come here.  He’s not here though.  Your hair is scruffy and you’ve got way more jumpers and winter jackets on than the rest.  You won’t end up taking your beanie off all game.  If you’ve got talent, rest assured, one of the senior men will come and tell you.  He’ll see it and tell you that you’re good enough to make it.  That you’re better than half of these jokers.  That’s what you need for today at least.  After the game one of the senior men will take you aside and explain to you that you need to put in a few euros if you’re going to play here (for equipment and stuff).  But it’s okay you can bring it next time.

 You are a white journalist.  You’ve heard about this group via via, a bunch of these guys were in the papers recently coz they made a performance about footballers migrating to Europe.  You’ve come to make a documentary on it.  Yours is going to be different to all the ones which are out there already.    Some of the players are friendly.  Some of them assume you are an agent and are hoping to impress you.  When you finally ask one guy how he came here he refuses to answer.  He can’t talk about that stuff.  

 You are a good footballer looking for some extra training.  You’re not black but they can tell you can play.  You’ll get hacked down a few times and observe the physicality.  Actually about 80% of the players are going easy on you because you are new.  Even though you’re a good central midfielder, it’s better to just stick to the wings for now.  Play simple for today. 

~ by ahilito on May 4, 2013.

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