Gary Linekar, Pele, Zidane, Maradona, Dennis Berkamp, Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio, Francesco , Ronaldinho, Alessandro Del Piero, Gheorghe Hagi, Cesc Fabrigas and Baichung Bhutia have worn the number 10 jersey in the soccer centre stage. I am just taking this opportunity to announce that I had the privilege of wearing the number 10 jersey too.
This incident happened a year ago.I started working in the ad field. The very first day at work, I was told that I would be taking part in the Inter-media-firms Soccer tournament in Chennai.
80% of my workmates were from the fairer sex and only 20% belonged to the male species of the human community.The firm had only 10 men. Including the delivery boy, we had a full fledged soccer team. But we did not have any reserve player in the team.The main reason for me being selected was that I was the youngest of all ( and obviously we had to field in 11 players). None of the rest were under 30 years of age.
The captain of our team was the creative director of our firm. He was in his mid forties. He had a big pout.He told us that we would have practise sessions from the very next morning. Most of us had never played soccer before. I had played it in the street with my neighbour kids. But that was some ten years back.
The very next morning at 6 am, we all gathered in the near-by playground. We all did some warm up. There wasn't any coach.So we did our very own exercises. Soon everyone realised that i was the most flexible and energetic soul in that ground.Why would not I be? 3 of my team mates were in their early 50s. The rest all in their mid forties and two in their 30s. No wonder!!! I was given the centre forward position.I was happy because it meant that I would be wearing the number-10 jersey
We even bought jerseys for us. Our team looked very professional. I was happy because I would be the one who would be leading the offence charge for my team.The babes in my firm formed a cheergroup team and they even practised some choreo-steps. Another creative bunch of girls even prepared some posters and banners. We indeed felt like super-sportstars that whole week.
The night before the game, the jerseys arrived. They had ordered for free-size jerseys.When i tried it i found it too long and it went till my knees and considering the way it clung on to me, I was pretty sure that I never needed shorts.But still the rules stated that I should wear a trouser. The whole night I was dreaming about the goals i would be scoring in the matches. Free kicks, super dribbles, bicycle kicks.. Indeed I had great skills in my dream.
Morning dawned and we assembled in the soccer stadium. To our surprise we got a direct entry into the second round because the opponents did not turn up. so the next game for us was scheduled later that evening. We just sat there and had fun cracking jokes and talking about all the greatest soccer games we had seen so far.
Finally the much awaited time came. We were up against the team from Vijay-TV ( a popular media house in Tamilnadu). We won the toss and we knew that it was a great start for us. We chose our end and the game started. The cheer girls started their performance and they were indeed great in their act. The game also became intense.
In the second minute of the game, an opposition player made a rough tackle on me and I fell on the ground. I did some serious acting and the babes gave a sympathetic look on me. The medical staff tried rushing to the scene to help me, but the referee did not allow them into the ground. He came to me and said," If you do not get up now, I would be flashing an yellow card for you". The very next minute I was on my feet full of energy. I understood that the referee was such an inspirational speaker.
Ten minutes into the game, the opposition team scored their first goal. But we knew that we could easily get back on level terms and even score more. We played like true champions. At half time the score read 11-0.At half time, the cheer girls were not cheering for us anymore.(They might have forgotten their steps) That is when I decided that I was not gonna let my team down.I gave a pep talk to my team-mates and I knew that they were raring to go.
The second half saw us struggling even more. The opposition team scored another 9 goals and the scoreline read 20-0. Only five minutes remained and now we were playing for our pride. Our captain told us that we should at least score one goal and avoid a big humiliation.
The opposition midfielders controlled the ball very well and passed with great ease. I gave them a good chase and with my great tackling skills, i got the ball and dribbled past two men and kicked it towards the goal.It took a deflection from my team mate and went inside the net. Even though it took a deflection from his leg, everyone knew that I was the one who was responsible for that wonderful goal. The referee blew the final whistle.
My captain frowned at me.I knew he was jealous that he was not the hero behind the goal.I turned towards my other team mates. They were staring at me too. Even the goal scorer wasn't delighted. The final score line read 21-0. What if it was an own goal? Atleast we scored one goal.That was the last time I ever played a soccer game.