Grab a seat.
The previous day had been a Sunday. That Sunday bad been a rigorous day for me. We had played a football match And earned a hard fought victory against lads from the neighbouring village.
In the match, I had failed to score a spot kick. The worst experience I ever had in a soccer game was that. I remember feeling so low and out. We couldn’t afford to lose that match. This was a do or die for us, a make it break, a go hard or go home. We weren’t competing for any prize. It was a question of ego. Here was us on one side who had for long boasted of being incomparable. According to us, we were in no one’s league around. We were the best soccer kids around until one naughty kid from the neighbouring village dared us to a a football match. We almost beat him up. How could he? In his naughtiness, he added arrogance in a statement he told us.
“How about you beat me in the pitch if you defeat us. And if you don’t defeat us, we’ll do the same to you,” he said arrogantly.
Dear me, this was a slap in the face. How could he? How dare he? How could he say such? We decided to prepare tooth and nail and make sure we avoided being dehumanised to that extent. The match turned out to be bloody on that day. We couldn’t afford to be defeated. Then here was me who had misused a spot kick. I had to work my nail to the bone to make sure we didn’t lose. Be it walking off that match with a broken limb. Yes, I worked my ass off and lucky enough I managed to provide an assist that led to a goal. Then go ahead to lead to another penalty. I was fouled in the box. And of course the spot kick was given to someone else. I was so okay with it, my confidence was shaken already. The spot kick was converted into a goal and there we were, victors finally. We went home with a 2-0 hard earned victory. We had no power left to fight our proud rivals thereafter as we had agreed to do after the match. The match had drained us. Our rivals went back with their heads bowed low, that to us was enough beating in the match and after the match. That evening I went home happy but not as happy as I should have if I had converted that spot kick, you know.
“Won’t you take a shower?” my mother asked after observing me do a quick face, arms and legs washing and attempting to end there.
I didn’t reply to this pertubing question. I was sure that was a simple command not a question the way it sounded. So I ate humble pie undressed and miserably washed me, my whole body. But truth be told, I didn’t feel as fresh thereafter, the match was too rigorous. I wonder if it wasn’t ‘attempted murder’ of the sort me not intending to take a full shower in the beginning!
Fast forward, morning came. It was a Monday. This was not holiday time, it was schooling time and I was a day-schooler. As usual, mum woke me up too early to prepare for school. Believe you me, I hardly could move an itch. The ruins from the previous day’s football match were still taking toll on me.
“Mum, I am no feeling fine,” I lamented.
“Watandika haza,” she replied. This literally means, “you’re at it again.”
Whenever I heard this statement. I knew trouble was looming around the corner. You know African mums. They usually have signature statements that make an alarm. My mother is not an exception. ‘Watandika haza’ used to be her signature statement that alerted me of trouble. All my efforts to skip school that day fell on a dead lock end. From faking a headache, to faking a tablet chocking, to faking a broken limb. I ended up being late at school, being caned for late coming and sweeping the whole class alone! That day was numb for me! However, a week later, that match earned me a placement into the school team. Our games teacher got to know about the match. That’s how I got into the school’s second team!