My son has had a brilliant football season. He has been playing for a new team since his old team was forced to fold this time last year. His new team are a bit better than his old team and it’s been a pleasure to see them winning so many games.
It’s also been a pleasure to see my son scoring lots of goals. He’s always been a good goalscorer, but with a better team behind him, he has scored so many more this season. So many in fact, that he has spent most of the season as the league’s top scorer. Something I’ve been immensely proud of. I didn’t know if there would be a trophy for being the league’s top scorer, but I hoped there would be. But even if there wasn’t, we could be proud of how well he had done.
He scored in every game, including a number of hat tricks and a couple of times he even scored four goals. He was averaging two goals per game.
But then, a couple of months ago, he was forced to miss a game when his recurring achilles injury reared its ugly head. After that, he had his nasty illness. On his first game back, he didn’t score. He tried his best, but he’d been off school ill for a week and he wasn’t 100%. Then there was a cup final, which they lost 6-0.
Remarkably, he managed to hold onto his position as the league’s top scorer in spite of this.
But his team had played more games than the others. When the other teams played their games in hand, someone overtook him. BY ONE GOAL.
And he played for the team my son was playing in the last game of the season.
My son just needed to play his best and get two or three goals, like he had always been capable of. He’d held the top spot for so long, it would have been a shame for it to be nicked from him at the last minute.
But the opposition got an early lead.
The goalscorer wasn’t the kid in top spot, but it gave the team the confidence they needed to score another one.
My son’s team pulled one back. But it wasn’t my son who scored.
The opposition got a penalty.
Their coach shouted something about being two up. And I knew it wasn’t about the score in the game. It was about the kid having two goals up on my son.
My son was surrounded by three players at all times. If one of them dared to leave his side, their coach yelled his number to remind his players to get back to marking him. He obviously cared about the top scorer spot and stopping my son from getting it.
Sadly our coach is less competitive and much nicer (which is of course a good thing). He’d given no thought to marking this kid any more than normal.
We went 4-1 down. Then 5-1 down.
My son had a few good attempts at goal, but it wasn’t working for him.
He had his shirt pulled in front of goal and the ref totally failed to see it. Yet he saw so many other less important breaches of the rules.
We pulled a goal back, but it still wasn’t my son who scored.
After yet another attempt on goal, 20 minutes from the end, my son was subbed off and never went back on.
My husband, who coached my son’s old team, always studies match stats carefully. He would have kept a kid in my son’s position on for the full game to give him a chance of scoring. But the new coach isn’t like that. He’s less competitive.
So my son is the second top scorer in the league. Which anyone would have been very pleased to get. If only they hadn’t been the top scorer for the entire season.
He finished the season on 36 goals, two goals behind the top scorer.
His team finished in equal second place. If they’d won or drawn that game, they would have had automatic promotion, but now they have to have a play-off against the other team in second to see who will go up.
Being promoted is a double-edged sword. It’s great to celebrate and know that your team is good enough to go up to the league above, but you also know the teams in the league above are much better and the reality is you’re going to spend the next season being beaten before probably being relegated again.
Overall, it has been a good season, but it’s a shame my son couldn’t finish it as top scorer.