Not A Prayer This Sunday. Back in the bad old days I worked six nights a week And so I couldn't pursue my top-class football dream, So I played Sunday, where the substandard was weak, But our church dodgers still made a decent
drinkinteam. Then came an unholy Sunday I recall till this day, We turned up imperiously in our Imperial Blue, Burncastle would be the token opposition we'd put away, But as we strutted out- in a sudden chill ill-wind blew. Above, our bright blue sky took on a somber grey cast, From the deep South storm clouds gathered balefully, They banked up, then swept darkly in, cold and fast; Short sleeved and shorts clad lads looked up palefully. The sparse black and white scarfed 'Castle crowd Looked sourly at us, then dourly up at the squall, Then- a flash of lightning- a thunderclap LOUD! From heaven, an antediluvian deluge began to fall. The ref raised his arm, blew his whistle and play began, The tempest fair whistled through me as I set off on a run, Our technically gifted team played with panache and elan But our game plan and hopes faded, like the dimming sun. The Recreation Ground is no warm or welcoming place, It's not green, it's not pristine, it's a rutted mud-filled field, With the raw wind at my back, the sun hiding its fickle face? Running up a tab down at the Crown increasingly appealed. So much for slick play full of feints, dribbles and stepovers, Now the best we could hope for was to stay on our feet, Not losing a boot was a feat worthy of 'Roy Of The Rover's,' The weather levelled the field 'tween the low and the elite. God, why say sun day if you overfill every Sunday with rain? Still, if we could not outskill 'em we could run around 'em, We tipped 'n' ran, passed 'n' ran, ran and kicked on again, Left gasping in our wake, our fluid feet all but drowned 'em. Our Captain roared his blue crew forward in wave after wave, 'Aye aye Sir!' And yet my cocksure confidence began to waver, Every kick saw their 'keeper making another miraculous save, On this ghastly Sunday good God was showing us no favour. At the half-time whistle we drudged to the dressing sheds, Our fresh-bought new bright blue kit now a shiuniform brown, On the wooden benches we saturated, shaking puzzled heads, Then the Captain stood up and gave us a right dressing down. Never had I seen our noble Captain look so sorely pained, Our Great Leader By Example made us all feel we be little, As down upon us, his dripping team, his displeasure rained, And none were spared his excoriating appraisal, nor spittle. The ref blew on his blue hands, then for the last half to start, The blue team looked on High, confident Good would prevail, Were we not strong, long of limb, brave and stout of heart? But some felt a lapse of faith as we faced the incoming hail. From that cursed moment, whatever could go wrong, did; My best mate Mike, our best dribbler, stomped on the ball, Oh, hear our Cap'n, rock of our defence, now almost rabid, Standing firm as all about him could but slip and pratt-fall. And what a bucketful of possession our damned team had- I- I must've had a hatful of chances to stick one in the net- But try as I may my aim was off a tad (sorry Skip, my bad!) I daren't find the eye of my Cap'n; no wish to see him upset. Then came the dreaded moment, hisour calamitous mistake, The ball wibble-wobbled off a stray boot, fell to one of Them, Our two defenders, stuck in the mud- such an unlucky break, Yet our Cap'n stood firm, calm and cool 'mongst the mayhem. Their goal-bound striker gave the slippery ball a heavy touch, The ball slithered towards the one to whom we're all beholden, Our hero, our Captain, the lauded oracle we listen to tooso much Slid, slipped, fell, but just before he swore...silence was golden. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed, down the sleet slashed, Our slip-shod Captain lay flat on his back, feet up in the air, After the heavy ball that lucky Burncastle lad lightly splashed And blasted the ball in our goal, off of our Cap'ns ample rear. ...There are some days, some games you cain't never win... Losing by the odd goal, sat in the gloomy shed, glum, numb... But nowadays Mike and I can still raise a pint and a silly grin Then laugh like drains recalling the goal scored by the big bum. Then comes the sobering moment; aye, then the laughter dies; Our loquacious leader had left us, without a word, so to speak, He felt he had lost face in front of his team, at least in his eyes- Silently he'd limped away, swiping an eye, rubbing a red cheek. And since our Captain has cast himself away Still we meet, every blessed Sunday afternoon, Have a tot in salute to our lost cap'n, and pray, 'Bon Voyage, safe return,' but never too soon.