Monday, May 2, 2011

The Benchwarmer

Alright, so I've been out of the game for a while. I got sent off a long time ago for some stupid play on my part, I agree (especially after reviewing the game footage). But since, I've found it difficult to find a place on the pitch again. Perhaps The Manager has lost faith in me. Or perhaps the game has just changed and I just can't keep up with it. This is highly possible, I've always been a little old fashioned. Whatever that means.

But truly the game has changed. India has always been a tough pitch, but the times, boy are they a-changing. I blame this on the internet, MTV, Bollywood, and the extremely skewed and ever dropping sex ratio of this nation. It's making it more and more difficult for out of favor chaps like myself.

It's high time for some serious introspection. I'm going to look at this objectively as possible. What are my strengths, what are my weaknesses. And what is wrong with me? Let's start with the obvious. Now I guess I look pretty ok. I mean, I look ok for your average Maharashtrian male from one of the "village-cities". Which places me at about the 5.9 billion mark worldwide, in a ranking system where, say, Cristiano Ronaldo would be first. Incidentally, I share a birthday with Cristiano. However, that is where the similarities end. Look-wise, I'm more comparable to his Portuguese national team compatriot, Luis Nani.

Ok fine, I've had several injuries and there has been a debatable loss of form (the damn media seems to think so, and as you know, whatever the media says is right). But one learns from their mistakes. I've been training really hard since then, and it shows. And I know all the tactics. Playing it defensive, or all out attack, or even sitting deep and hitting them on the counter. I have studied the theory thoroughly. Oh my god, I have so studied the theory. I'm quite proficient with it now and just need a chance to put it in practice and prove myself. I just need that chance, and its all up to The Boss to put me in.

Yet week after week, I find myself on the bench. Just there, but not quite. I'm on the sidelines. And no one questions The Gaffer. Every time I ask him to put me in, he just looks at me like this:

No one argues with The Gaffer, bitch.
You try arguing with that.

Its hard sometimes, watching from the sidelines. I just wonder, why is The Gaffer always passing me over? I mean I see much less capable players out there making a name for themselves and scoring some real beauties. My teammates often tell me its not about build, or beauty of play, or other such technicalities. Well what then?

Come on Gaffer, put me in. Its obvious I'm not your favorite player, but that's ok. You don't want me to start, well that's quite clear, and that's fine. But go ahead and put me in as a sub! I don't mind, really I don't. A late sub if it pleases you! Just to go out and stretch my legs if nothing else! My only aim is to please. But I can't do that from the sidelines, now can I?

I know I complain about being on the bench. But don't worry, I'm not going to do a Carlos Tevez and go play for the other team. Of course I've thought of it. But, er, let's just say that I could never adapt to their style of play. I just wouldn't fit into their setup. No, I ain't switching sides. So it seems I better be quite content with the bench.

Who am I kidding. If I go out there I'll probably make some rash tackle. Then some Cristiano like figure will come over and goad me into getting sent off and then run to wink at the bench. Where I will be next week.

And then I lose my place on the team again.
Oh, this is all bollocks. Imagine what it does to the morale of a player? In my time on the bench, I've seen people get stretchered off, sent off with multiple match bans, score goals, be subbed, and even a lot of unfit players make it out there. It's a shame. And in the midst of all this, my butt has been firmly on the bench. Now I know how Owen Hargreaves feels.

Oi, Gaffer, I'm ready! Put me in the game!

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