Apologies for my extended sabbatical. I would like to blame writer’s cramp but nothing more than a hectic life in all honesty.
But I was clearly in need of some general inspiration and it came yesterday at a freezing but wonderfully Nottsborough-ish Tolworth with three teams playing and two of them winning early enough to give the 1s a much-needed cheer. The setting and the circumstance has also allowed me to bring in a film I happened to watch for the first time recently on a long flight back from Brazil – it was brilliant and poignant and reminded me of why playing football for Nottsborough can be so special. If you haven’t watched it take three hours out to do so – you’ll enjoy it.
So where is this going?? Well indulge me for a second whilst I imagine Brian Williams’ half-time team talk to a shell-shocked 1s, two down to Title rivals Winchmore Hill….
“I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives. All comes down to today, and either, we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play. Until we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the s**t kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell… one inch at a time. Now I can’t do it for ya, I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I, uh, I’ve pi**ed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s… that’s… that’s a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the f*****g difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys, that’s all it is. Now, what are you gonna do?”
And you know what? They only went and won 3-2.
I loved it, I’m pretty sure Brian loved it and I sense the boys loved it too. With two semi-final wins as well from the rampant 2s and the ever impressive 3s, this was just one of those Saturdays where things went right for us in a season where things haven’t been so perfect all of the time but you know what, when it’s good, it’s very good and don’t any of us ever forget it.