After a long time, a story for our times

After a long time with no blogging, thought I was time for a little story…

Johnny lived in a beautiful house, with his loving parents.

Sunlight trickled through the net curtains and bathed the living room in a warm, golden light.  It was the day before his 8th birthday.

Like many small children, Johnny had that innate ability to absorb information.  In particular he drained down football facts and figures like a desert marathon runner at a water station.  He knew all the players, their strengths and weakness, every result from the last three seasons.  He watched hours of football, recording his favourite matches and watching them over and over – Johnny loved football.

So when the big day, his 8th birthday arrived, he could not have been happier with the beautiful new, full sized leather football, and sparkling new season top, with his name and the number 8 emblazoned on the back. He loved that football and ran excited out into the garden to play.

As the evening drew on Johnny was tired and settled to a final treat – nuzzled on the couch with his Dad, tea on his lap whilst he watched this week’s Match of the Day recorded the night before.

As he did though, he couldn’t help being a little distracted.  Johnny’s house was on the edge of large park.  It was a ramshackle, city centre park.  Teenagers slumped, oversized and bored on swings designed for much younger children.  Dog walkers walked purposefully, enjoying passing through, but never wanting to linger. But most distracting for Johnny, children played football.  Older, bigger kids argued fiercely, younger ones whooped with delight at a winning goal.

Johnny’s parents weren’t keen for him to go to the park, but they knew the time was coming.  Some of the kids started to get together and organise a mini-league.  They saved up their pocket money and started to buy bibs, so they knew the teams, they even bought some goal posts and corner flags.  Johnny always brought along his pride and joy, his beautiful, shiny, full size Premiership ball.  Some of the other kids didn’t have much money and they couldn’t afford to contribute to the goals, or the bibs, but between them they had what they needed, and it didn’t seem to matter.

It wasn’t all good, there were the older kids who sometimes pushed them off the pitch.  Johnny often came home in tears, grazed, bruised, pocket money taken, but more often he came home excited about a new kid who’d come along, or a goal he’d scored.  To Johnny it was his world, the rivalries, the friendships, the goals scored and the dreams lived out.

Johnny was a really good little player – more often than not he ended up on the winning side, and as one of the boys who brought the ball and had extra pocket money to help buy other things they needed – the other boys normally listened to Johnny and he often got his own way.  But Johnny’s football started to get scuffed and old.  He was annoyed that some of the other boys never bought any of the kit.  The boys started to change the rules, they’d do things Johnny didn’t like.  Johnny was a bad loser and Johnny didn’t always win.

One day he’d had enough, he took his ball and he went home.  From now on he’d play in the garden on his own.  He’d always win, and he could buy whatever he wanted and not have to share it with anyone.  Of course he’d hear the others in the park.  They’d managed to save together and buy a new ball. He’d hear them whoop and row, cheer and fight, but Johnny had his ball, and that’s what mattered.

Think carefully on June 23rd – then vote REMAIN.


About domhall

I have spent the last 15 years juggling careers in education publishing, expedition leadership and safety training. It has involved a careful balancing act of dreams of expedition travel, a love of climbing, walking and the outdoors and the the realities of life - and the later has definitely come off worse. I've run an adventure travel and expedition training business and lived in the sometimes sunny Lake District. Having taken a year out to complete an MSc in Environmental Technology I am now working for The Conservation Volunteers, working on engaging communities in their local green spaces.
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