Football Fever (At Last!)

The most magnificent game of football was played out in our living room this evening. Not on TV, of course – that’s just mundane. The most magnificent game was between two four-year-olds with two silky pony tails apiece.

Not that the pony tails are at all relevant to the tale – they just add flavor. It’s so much more incongruous when football is played by female players under the age of four, if the said players have two silky pony tails each.

Mrini stood at one end of the living room. Her goal was represented by the carpet which is laid against one wall. Tara stood at the other end. There’s a broad white granite border running across the black granite floor and her goal lay behind the white border. The border actually spans the width of the room – which is far wider than the carpet – so poor Tara would have had an impressively wide goal area to defend, but the glass-fronted bookshelf occupying a significant portion of the width of the room did make her job somewhat easier.

They took it in turns to politely kick the ball to each other. If the defender fumbled, it was a goal. The goals came thick and fast at first, what with one goalie sitting down on a bolster and another goalie lying down on her tummy on the ground for a bit. Then at one point Tara place the ball neatly in the centre of the room and backed away preparatory to taking a healthy swipe at it. Mrini quickly rushed in and kicked the ball into the goal before Tara could sort out her left leg from her right leg.

At one point, Tara aimed for the goal, but missed and her ball struck the goalpost (the corner of the carpet) and rolled away harmlessly. “Not a goal,” I ruled. “But I did shoot!” came the indignant rejoinder promptly. Meanwhile, Mrini’s strategy was to touch the ball as lightly as possible, so that it barely crawled halfway across the room before running out of steam. She still managed to score a few goals, though.

The game progressed apace, with Tara scoring some spectacular misses, but making up with enthusiastic, inspired goal-keeping. She also had an impressive feinting technique. She lunged at the ball several times, in such a convincing manner that I’m not sure even she knew that she was feinting. When she finally kicked the ball, though, it went tamely straight to Mrini. Then just as it came to Mrini’s turn to shoot, Tara said, “sussu!” and rushed off to the bathroom! She was back seconds later, tugging at her clothes in comic fashion and grinning broadly.

After the game had been on for a while and everybody had lost track of the score, I decided we’d play for golden goal. There were seven or eight attempts without a goal being scored when finally Tara shot wildly, the ball ricocheted off my foot and caught Mrini unawares and it was… gooooooooooooal!!! (Though technically I think it should have been disallowed… if the ball strikes the referee it can’t be a goal, can it?)

With the championship out of the way, the champions were hauled off for bath and bedtime by the referee! I’m sure you wouldn’t see that happening in the televised version of the game! No red cards, no yellow cards, and not even a single self goal! All in all, it was the best match of the season.

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