Some time back I was at my pal Daisy’s place. We were supposed to go out for lunch and the rendezvous was her place.
I arrived at Daisy’s place at 12 p.m. sharp and knocked on the door. There was no response. So I rang the doorbell and after waiting at her doorstep for like five minutes she finally opened the door.
She was dressed in a baggy t-shirt, booty shorts and she had a lesso wrapped around her waist. She definitely wasn’t ready. Still, Daisy is a fashionista so it was a rather odd ensemble.
“You’re early,” she said.
“It’s slightly past 12,” I said glancing at my watch.
“It’s already 12? I thought it’s only like 10. Aki I’ve been so busy doing chores I didn’t even realize that much time had passed. I’m so sorry. Please come in and wait for me,” she said welcoming me into the house and ushering me into the living room.
“I’m almost done. I promise I won’t take long,” she said as I sat on one of the sofas in the living room.
“Don’t take too long”.
“I promise I won’t,” she said as she walked away to resume whatever she was doing.
But fellas, you know how women are. They say they won’t take long but they always do. You give them 30 minutes and they end up taking 3 hours. You give women an inch and they end up taking a mile. But I guess as long as they are fashionably late that’s all that matters.
So as I waited for Daisy, I watched her 12-year-old brother John, and his two pals Peter and Tyler play video games. They were huddled around the TV, their eyes glued to the screen playing FIFA. No wonder two of them wear specs.
Anyway, after watching them play for like an hour, I couldn’t bear watching them anymore. If you’re an avid gamer you’ll understand why. Watching most kids play video games is unbearable for a seasoned gamer like me. Most kids suck at video games. Yet they think they’re the shit. A case in point—John.
Daisy’s brother, John, thought he was the shit. He and his friends were playing winner stays, and since I had arrived the kid was yet to give up his controller.
John was destroying Peter and Tyler in every game he played against them and enjoying every minute of it. After every game he won, he would gloat about his victory adding insult to his opponent’s injuries.
Like there’s this one game he beat Tyler 6-0 that he couldn’t stop boasting about. Tyler was humiliated, and after the defeat, I could see he was struggling to hold his tears back. But John didn’t care, he wallowed in his victory and continued to brag endlessly about his triumph.
Worse still, the kid was using Manchester United and he would dab with every player he scored with. I have nothing against Manchester United. I’m actually a huge fan of the team. But after seeing Matic dab, I had seen enough. My fingers began itching for the controller. So I asked John if I could play.
The kid laughed. You should have seen him. It killed him. The thought of me playing video games was unthinkable to him. He told me I was too old to play video games.
I wasn’t even mad. It felt nice to be acknowledged as being old. It felt great to be recognized as an adult. Even if it was just by a kid. Because I look way younger than my age. I swear. If you ask me my age and I tell you, you won’t believe me. You’ll think I’m pulling your leg.
Because I look really young. Plus I have no facial hair. Well, some hair usually grows on my cheeks but it looks like patches of couch grass on an overused football field. It looks so damn awful. So I usually shave it. Then I have this damn goatee that takes a zillion years to grow.
And then again, I’ve been frozen at more clubs than I can remember. However, on second thought, I don’t think I’ve been frozen at most of these clubs because of how I look, but rather because of the people I’ve been with. Like there’s this one time I went clubbing with four dudes. One of the dudes was dressed in a jumpsuit. When we got to the club, one of us was allowed in but the rest of us were frozen by the bouncer. We pleaded with him to let us in but he refused to allow us into the club. So one guy from our crew even tried to negotiate with the bouncer in his mother tongue but he remained adamant—we weren’t getting into the club.
But in retrospect, I blame the jumpsuit guy and not my young look. He was loud and he was dressed in a jumpsuit for goodness sake. Gang, if you’re going out to a swanky club dress the part. Don’t wear a goddam jumpsuit unless you’re a celebrity. Only celebrities can get away with fashion crimes. Also, fellas, don’t take a cockfest to the club. There’s already enough testosterone in the club. That’s why some clubs offer shots to the first 20 ladies who arrive, not gents. So they may ruin your budget, but if you don’t want to be frozen, tag along a couple of ladies next time you’re going clubbing. It’s a small price to pay to avoid the embarrassment of being frozen.
Anyway, next time Tahidi High is admitting students (read casting) they should give me a call. I’d totally fit in as an extra.
I digressed. Sorry. Back to the story.
So the kid thought it was absurd that I wanted to play because I’m old. But, he agreed to my request and gave me one of the controllers. He thought I was old. Well, I was about to show him an old dog like me had a couple of tricks up his sleeve. He didn’t know what he had signed up for. I was going to school him in FIFA and show him he wasn’t the shit but shit.
John selected Manchester United and I selected a less superior team—Arsenal (yes I said it. You
gunners gooners can check the table in case you’re disputing the fact.)
We began playing and I hate to admit it, but the kid was fairly good. However, since he was just a kid I went easy on him. It was a bad idea. I underestimated him and he scored me first. And he didn’t score an ordinary goal. He scored a long shot from outside the box. So when he threatened to score the second goal I realized that he may be good after all. So I decided to take my gameplay a notch higher.
I possessed the ball more and put a lot of pressure on his defence. He succumbed to this pressure and I ended up beating him 3-1. John demanded a rematch. Peter and Tyler said he was being unfair considering we were playing winner stays, and it was Peter’s turn to play next.
An argument ensued. Peter and John began jostling for the controller. Back and forth, they prised the controller from each other. Finally, Peter gave up, ceded the controller to John and we played the rematch.
In the rematch, I decided to show the kid no mercy. I selected Real Madrid and he once again put his faith in Manchester United. I mauled him 8-0. And to cap my victory, the eighth goal was a brilliant diving header by Cristiano Ronaldo in the dying minutes of the game. And to add salt to John’s wounds, I dabbed with Ronaldo after scoring.
At full-time, his friends cheered my victory wildly. John was miffed. Peter and Tyler didn’t help matters. Reading John’s displeasure, they applauded even louder (with friends like these who needs enemies?). This aggravated and incensed John so much that he turned off the console.
Peter and Tyler tried to negotiate with him to turn it back on but he flatly refused and stormed off. Sore loser.
I can’t blame the kid. When I was his age, I’d probably have acted the same. Actually, I did act in a similar manner to John. As a kid, I hated losing and I had a fragile ego. Like there’s this one time I was playing Winning Eleven (remember Winning Eleven and that Japanese commentator? Good old days) with a cousin of mine and he thrashed me repeatedly. I was pissed. I was so pissed I didn’t speak to my cousin for an entire day. I really was a sore loser.
Anyway, when I was 11 or 12 I joined Ligi Ndogo—a football academy for kids. In the estate, I played midfield and I was one of the most depended on players on the team. But at Ligi Ndogo, I was reduced to being a benchwarmer. It sucked. I was eager to play as a regular and show the coach what I was made of.
When I finally got my big break, the coach played me as a goalkeeper. A goalie of all the godforsaken positions! And he didn’t play me as a goalkeeper because I could potentially be a great goalie, he only fielded me as a goalie because the first choice keeper got injured and had to sit out the rest of the season.
So during the two years, I spent at Ligi Ndogo, I was a substitute goalie and benchwarmer. Still, I learnt a lot about football at Ligi Ndogo. But football isn’t the only thing I learnt about at the football academy.
At Ligi Ndogo, I learnt to sit on the bench and be humble. I also learnt that in this rat race called life, you will lose. It’s inevitable. You can’t always win. At one point or another, you will certainly lose. Worse still, you may lose at something you are good at. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but chances are high there’s someone better than you at something you excel at.
But you won’t always lose. Sometimes (or most times) you’ll win because you win some, you lose some. So in victory or defeat, be a good sport. Be a humble winner and a good loser.
PS: Daisy who was “almost done” ended up being done after two hours. I can’t complain though, she was fashionably late and that made up for her lateness.