Marcus and I often play soccer games on a "first to 10 wins" basis. On Saturday evening we were engaged in such a game, when Marcus called me a "loser". I was actually winning at the time, and he does often babble all kinds of nonsensical "trash talk", so it's not as bad as it sounds. All the same, I decided it would be a useful exercise to up my efforts a bit and beat him comfortably, while lecturing him between goals about fair play and being a gentleman.
It was late, and he was already pretty tired, and all I achieved was to get him quite upset at the prospect of losing, such that we gave up with the score at 8-6 my way. I was happy to call it quits but Marcus announced that we would continue next day, and that it would be first to 20.
The next day we did all sorts of things, and it was not until dinner was underway that Marcus remembered this unfinished business. Daylight savings finished the previous day, so we restarted the match in fairly low light. I continued with my intention to win, not by so much that I triggered a breakdown, but by enough that it was over by nightfall.
At 11-7 I was pretty happy with how things were going. My goal is a plastic chair - I have to slot it through the front legs. Marcus has a couple of poles about 2 metres apart. I go uphill and have to get up a concrete step that runs across midfield.
I had scored from a few good longshots and out-bustled Marcus a few times to get right up there for tap-ins.
Marcus was defending very well however, and when in attack doing a great job of following up his shots. A few times I saved and he put away the rebound. The sun set. I realised I was getting pretty tired of fetching the ball from within the bush behind my goals. Marcus took the lead 13-12. I realised I was feeling a little bit tired and was sweating profusely. Marcus slotted a few more goals. I realised that I couldn't see the dark green chair in the gloom, and if I ran up the hill with the ball for a closer look, he was always there first, standing in front of the ridiculously small chair and grinning. I could see his teeth shining in the dark.
While this went on Michael was running in and out of the house, yelling things down at us. "Good playing you guys!" "Great kicking Daddy! Great kicking Marcus!" Next door a couple of old blokes on the deck were pretending not to watch but I think they were fascinated.
At 17-12 I realised the only one with a hope in hell of reaching 20 was Marcus. I was practically out on my feet. Dinner was ready. I was soaked with sweat, and felt like I had played tennis with Roger Federer or rounded up a dozen rabbits by hand. It was totally exhausting, and my didactic intentions got lost entirely, but it was a good practice run for my return to indoor soccer this Friday.