What a game.
Gentlemen, this game was always going to be tough.
Down two men, and then the unexpected happened: a shooting in Windsor.
Police have cordoned off all areas to Jeff’s building.
Phones frantically ringing, Jeff can’t access his apartment, can’t get clothes, equipment or runners.
He’s rattled, running late and stuck in traffic.
All this is adding to an already heightened sense of anxiety and pressure.
Will he make it in time???
It’s match time. No Jeff.
Not sure whether Dan is coming, we are 4 men standing on the field, staring down a team of 8 healthy young men.
Strategies into place, we decide we need to make some decisions.
We need someone in goal as we await word on whether Jeff has been detained.
With two seconds to spare until kick off, out of the corner of our eyes, we see Dan running onto the field.
We make a decision – throw Dan to the wolves. He goes into goals… we give him our blessing and hope he makes it through.
Positions are taken. Bernie & Pete go up front. Rob & Dave at the back.
This is gonna be tough. No Jeff. Taz out. Marty injured.
We take a final look at each other, and stand strong.
You can feel the heart.
The whistle blows.
It was relentless attacking from the younger side.
Quick ball skills, and strong shooting.
But our team was not going to be taken down.
We held strong as a team, cutting them down in defence and running hard.
Dan rising heroically to the occasion, putting doubt into the opposition’s eyes and fearlessly doing the best he could in a tough situation.
We’re down 2-nil, but we’re still not losing heart.
Then all of a sudden, like a hand from the gods, the team seemed to be given a herculean boost of immortality and strength.
Pete and Bernie up front seem to be rattling the defence of the opposition.
Pete shows consistent courage and energy, running hard and running into space.
Bernie is blinding the opposition with strength and skill, not to mention the blinding light from his new white runners.
Like a trojan, Bernie is stoic, untouchable, and stylish, with the signature twists and turns which he has become famous for.
Bernie scores two goals and before we know it, we are 2 all.
The determination is now rising higher, the opposition fighting hard to gain the lead again.
They score again. We are trailing and fighting hard to catch up.
The ball is going at a furious pace, up and down the field.
Our passing is solid, we are making space and creating plays.
Bernie and Pete making some beautiful passes, leaving the opposition in their wake, and seeing Pete score a brilliant goal off a genius pass from Bernie.
The scores keep building, one for one.
It’s almost halftime.
Then, out of the corner of our eyes, like a golden light or a shooting star – we see Jeff rush through the doorway.
In jeans and t-shirt, he’s not in the sanctioned uniform – we interrupt play to ask the ref if our goalie can come on.
The ref is stern and unmoveable, saying “no man can play in jeans”.
Bernie yells: “IN MY BAG!”
Quick – a pair of shorts awaits, along with a t-shirt, old sneakers, gloves and kneepads.
Jeff changes like superman, just in time to join the huddle at half time.
Halftime score 4-5, the opposition in front.
It feels like a battle, holding off the enemy until reinforcements arrived.
With even more determination and renewed heart, we run into the second half, stronger than ever.
The second half starts like a tennis match, balls flying by at a bionic speed.
The famous and untouchable Jeff throw to Bernie is even more accurate than ever, putting fear into the opposition.
Now with a sub, we use it wisely – everybody holding their position strong.
Dan playing exceptionally well, and stopping the unstoppable.
Bernie untouchable, passing the ball off to all running players.
Dave, formidable, holding the back strong, never giving up, and running like the wind.
Dave to the front line as well, scoring a brilliant goal from the half way mark.
Myself at the back, holding position, cutting down the attack, standing ground.
Looking up, as if in some Matrix type special effect in slow motion, seeing the team excel and rise as a team – we were going to fight till the end.
Scores still going one for one, 6 all.
Five minutes to go: we’re ahead 7-6.
The younger team using their subs, replenishing themselves, they score – it’s 7 all.
We take one final look at each other: we either die here altogether, or we rise and fight to live another day.
Like the swords gleaming on a battlefield strewn with bodies, we give one final thrust of courage.
We score. It’s 8-7.
With 30 seconds to go, the opposition wield their swords in anger. They are shocked, angry, and hungry for the win.
The Blue Shadows fight on, with heart, determination, and love for each other and the game.
The whistle blows.
The other team drop to the ground, tears rolling down their faces.
We give a triumphant cry.