Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ronaldo to transfer to Clonee United?

Last summer, a senior citizen was physically ejected from Millennium Park in Blanchardstown when an official from the Fingal County Council parks department deemed it possible that she might “look at a child” whilst in there. The fact that the park was home to a lone magpie at the time did not deter the official on the grounds that, if children were to come into the park, they would run the risk of being looked at by this elderly lady.
Since that time, I have paid careful heed to the Council’s redefining of the old adage about children being seen and not heard. Not wishing to be branded a criminal, if I am ever driving down a street and a child dashes out after a ball, I immediately avert my eyes until I have passed the spot and I would urge all other good citizens to do the same.
Thus it was that as I passed by the green area in the middle of Hazelbury Park recently, I shielded my eyes lest my gaze should accidentally fall upon some of the children that I could hear having a nice, quiet game of football there. And in shielding my eyes, I therefore failed to spot the wayward clearance that caught me expertly on the ear.
I could hear that the players were upset by the incident. Just as some people cannot help but laugh out loud when given a particularly tragic piece of news, I could hear from the whoops of laughter on the green just how much the accident had affected them.
“Sorry mister,” said what sounded like a young boy and as I righted my glasses on my nose, I inadvertently caught a glance at his retreating back as he dribbled the ball back up to the pitch. What I saw caused my heart to palpitate wildly and I did a quick double take. Well, you don’t expect Cristiano Ronaldo to turn up in Hazelbury Park, do you?
But it definitely was him. True, he had blonde, spiky hair, was approximately four feet tall and yelled in a Dublin accent that it was “our throw.” These three facts, allied to his somewhat stocky physique, caused me to question momentarily whether it really was the greatest player in the world who had just tripped over a rather sturdy dandelion to more hoots of laughter, but his Manchester United shirt, with the number 7 on his back and, crucially, his name “Ronaldo” emblazoned above it, put an end to all doubt.
And the way he sat on his backside with his arms outstretched appealing for a penalty simply reinforced the matter.
Of course, now that it was actually Ronaldo and not a twelve year old boy, I was allowed by law to look at him. What I saw merely lent credence to my long-held opinion that television actually distorts reality. The camera may never lie but it obviously has the ability to turn a spiky haired blonde individual into an athletic Latino type. To be honest, he didn’t look a bit like he does on the telly but then, people seldom do.
As I watched him, I thought he looked somewhat out of shape. He controlled the ball about as far as some people can kick it and when he stubbed his toe taking a free kick, I thought that the sooner Real Madrid get him back for pre-season training, the better.
But if the erstwhile Manchester United star had signed for Madrid, then what on earth was he doing in Hazelbury Park? I came to the conclusion that he must have been visiting relatives. There are a lot of new Irish in the area and it is a well-known fact that many people have emigrated from Madeira to Dublin 15, doubtless attracted by the sun and the opulent lifestyle that we are famed for.
But, as I watched in awe as he bore down on goal, that theory went out the window as he was sent crashing to the turf by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, obviously keen to get in the first blow for the Catalans. Fernando Torres then came along and pushed Messi away, making him cry, before Robbie Keane in his Ireland shirt grabbed Torres by the neck and proceeded to wrestle him to the ground.
The ensuing melee was eventually sorted out by the traditional method of scissors/paper/rock and the world’s footballing elite – with, bizarrely, Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin in goal - then got back to their training session.
This was truly groundbreaking news, I thought. Idly, I wondered if they were making another advertisement for Nike but there were no signs of any film cameras around. There was only one possible explanation – they were all trying out for Clonee United.
There had been no rumours of this on Sky Sports News, nor in any of the print media. This really was a journalistic coup of the highest order and I could earn myself a nice little holiday if I played my cards right. I mean, what wouldn’t the Community Voice give for a picture of Ronaldo, Messi and Torres playing three and in on a Friday afternoon in Hazelbury Park?
Well, “any money” is probably the answer to that question, as the editor of that paper is a sort of football atheist, preferring to have his dreams shattered annually by a team of fifteen in light blue and navy. But there was always The Sun and The Star and The Sunday Wuddle. This was my passport to a life of ease.
Alas, I have never been in the habit of bringing my camera along when going down to the shops for milk. It has never occurred to me to do so and my lack of foresight was to cost me dearly. However, I did have my mobile phone, which my wife insists should accompany me everywhere in case I have a nasty accident and need to tell her to which hospital they are rushing me.
However, with some more lack of foresight – this was becoming a trend – I had never bothered to sit down and figure out how the camera function on the phone actually works. Desperately I started pressing buttons for functions called Applications, Log and Organiser but there was nothing in any of them that looked like a camera. And then, as I perused Settings, I heard a lady in one of the houses surrounding the green calling in Wayne for his dinner.
To my surprise, it wasn’t the handsomely-challenged Mr Rooney who ran off but Ronaldo himself. Very clever, I thought. Obviously trying to throw any snoopers like myself off the scent and keep this potentially earth-shattering news under wraps for as long as possible.
Desperately I turned back to my phone, flicking through Profiles and Themes and Shortcuts while, one by one, the greatest footballers in the world all ran off for their dinner. As Messi slammed the hall door, so I let a howl of rage and flung my phone onto the tarmac.
My wife told me later that I didn’t have a camera on my phone. It made little difference. I had had my moment and blew it.

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