In the days before round-the-clock televised sport, young sports fanatics like myself had to use their imagination.
Back in the late eighties I used to listen to football matches on the radio and to add an extra dimension I’d attempt to recreate the action in the comfort of my own living room.
One particular re-enactment stands out from the others. Liverpool were playing Arsenal on a school night and I took on the role of Gunners’ goalkeeper John Lukic by setting up two heavy mahogany chairs as goalposts. Liverpool were peppering the Arsenal goal with shots coming in from all angles. I recreated this by bouncing a sponge football off the far wall, diving left and right in my makeshift nets to keep the shots out.
However, one shot, probably from Peter Beardsley, proved a bridge too far. While I managed to get my fingertips to the ball and push it round the post/chair, my head followed through and collided with the corner of the chair/post.
I was split wide open and my dad came rushing to the front room where he was greeted by a dazed child with a head wound claiming they’d just made a brilliant save.
In the end I required paper stitches and was warned not to try to copy the things I see grown ups do on TV.
On Sunday past I indulged in another spot of indoor sport when I took on Craig Collen, my sporting rival from my childhood days, and his five-year-old son Evyn at a game of living room rugby.
It was great fun, but you’ve no doubt guessed the end result was the same. Another injury for Yer Man.
There was no blood this time round, but the injury was no less serious. As a result of sustained rucking, with the weight of both Collen males on my back, I ended up with a carpet burn on my elbow.
It’s been independently assessed and all consultants are in agreement that at least three layers of skin have been removed.
This time round I got no sympathy. In fact I was told by my wife to act my age.
I really can’t win. In 1988 I was told not to act like an adult and in 2013 I’m told not to act like a child. I’d love to think that in the intervening 25 years I’ve been acting in accordance with my age, but at best I’ve been acting the lig and at worst, the maggot.
Number four, how many times do I have to tell you?!
A few weeks ago I told the story of how I got shouted at over the public address system at a filling station for using my mobile phone at the pump.
Until I got singled out over the Tannoy I had no idea it was an offence.
The other day when filling up my car I noticed a sign at the petrol pump which warned that the use of mobile phones was strictly prohibited.
My first instinct was to take a photo of it. I had my phone pointed at the notice and was ready to take the snap when it dawned on me I was once again in contravention of the very rule the sign was warning against.
I got my phone back in my pocket before the person in the kiosk had a chance to shut off the pump and call out my number.
I’ll admit it would have made a much better story if the attendant had shouted, ‘Number four, how many times do I have to tell you?!’, but sometimes, just sometimes, I abide by the facts.