Wednesday 17 April 2024

Neverending Top Ten #6.8: Cup Final

Sunday was the first time in my life I've had a vested interest in a Cup Final.

By hook or by crook, Sam's football team, The Hawks, made it into the local cup final. They were very much the underdogs, and had been all season. It was easy to tell him to relax and enjoy it, that it was just another game, and it didn't matter if his team won or not. What an achievement it was getting to the final anyway! We were proud of him whatever the result. All these things were true, but they were far more true for us, his parents, than for Sam himself. At his age, you still believe that life is fair and that if you try your hardest, the underdogs will come out on top... just like in the movies. Winning is everything.

The opposition were a better team though, so the result was inevitable. They also had some particularly unpleasant supporters (mostly older brothers, I guess) who heckled Sam's team from the sidelines and made the final even harder. They were playing in a proper stadium too - well, there were stands on one side, so it was more like an actual stadium than anywhere they'd ever played before. Sam told me later that this in itself made the game tougher - he'd rather just be on a field in the middle of nowhere, like usual.

Regardless of all this, the Hawks did OK. They didn't win, but they had some good chances and kept the effort up right to the end. They played better football at times, but the goals just didn't come. Still, a 2-0 defeat wasn't the worst they've suffered this year, and we all felt they could hold their heads up high. (Look at me, writing about football: using the vernacular!)

Although initially sanguine in his defeat, Sam felt the disappointment later in the afternoon. He bounced back pretty quickly though. I admire his resilience... I hope the world doesn't beat that out of him. It's easy to say that losing in a situation like this is a better life lesson than winning... but that's no consolation for a ten year old. 


  1. Well done Sam. I was at a stadium watching my own team lose 2-0 on Sunday as well. Perhaps we can sign him up.

  2. Yes, well done Sam's team and look at you, writing about football in true pundit style. Who would have thought.

  3. The Times/Sunday Times just got rid of Henry Winter, their chief football correspondent (seemingly a cost-cutting exercise). You should apply for the vacancy!

    PS - well done to Sam and his team-mates. Loads to be proud of.


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