Thursday, 16 August 2012

Flaming Flamingoes

Stories are all works of fiction. Names, characters, place and events are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events and places is totally coincidental

"I don't believe it" says Solly, leaning against the swing at the children's playground of a local school. "Well it's true," I said, as we waited in this strategic place. Surprisingly I was calm while everyone else seemed tense. We were waiting for Ade to come from around the corner, most of the members of our team was present. On the other side of the school's building was the soccer pitch where we practised, it was out of sight from those going about their normal business and the incurious, which was why we chose it. 

My news was supposed to wait until every member of the team was present, it never happened that way. As soon as I arrived and with only a few of us present, I blurted it out, and the news more or less trickled to the rest of the players as each one arrived. Now only Ade needed to be told that the competition was going to be cancelled. Although the facts had not yet been fully established, it was quite easy to guess that someone had probably embezzled the donations, our entry fees and the prize money/purse set aside for the contest.

Now with Ade in our midst, we gave him the bad news. "The competition is not happening mate," Etemeke tells him. Usually a mild mannered and easy going fellow, Ade's demeanour crumbled and he basically went mental, "no way, no way are they going to call everything off," he yelled, "I've had to sneak around and lie to my parents, and now it's off? No bloody way." I was speechless, this wasn't the easy going, calm and mild mannered guy I knew, but I understood his frustration. We had been training hard and had begun to play like a proper team, also some kind of belief that we could take on any soccer team and prevail had begun to wash over us at training.

My thoughts went much deeper than the disappointment of not playing the game, or showing up with a team of individuals with exceptional talent or the exhilaration of going through all the matches, getting to the final and eventually lifting the trophy. All of that meant nothing to me, I had been there before and experienced these feelings the previous year with the senior team and I had a winner's medal to show for it, but not much else. This team, the flamingos on the other hand, would have topped that easily. I had so much confidence in my team and our ability that I'd commissioned an artist to design a poster dedicated to my team as a promotional tool to get the crowds to come watch our games, now it seems that expense would be a waste as well, but at least that was my own money. My main regret was Jackie and his uncle who had so kindly sponsored my team and had spent good money to help us enter the contest and done so much more. How can I go and tell him that everything has been scrapped?

Because Zeke and his cohorts, not happy with the way I rejected their invitation to join the Monarchs, had decided to thwart my efforts and before the competition was cancelled, had embarked on a campaign of intimidating and harassing anyone they felt was on my side of the fence. Some who tried to stay neutral and sit on the fence were not spared either. There was a lot of talk from the Monarch camp about how they were going to brush their teeth with the flamingos and make a meal of the other teams lined up to face them. But their emphasis was always on how they were going to humiliate Chigro's Flamingos. I, on the other hand said nothing and just waited to do my talking on the soccer field. Now it was off, cancelled, kaput.

(To be continued)...

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