The Crossbar Challenge

20 Jul

My mate Simon is not an ordinary mate; he has one prosthetic leg (not that he lets it affect his life), and bad luck seems to follow him about. This particular story happened a few years back and is one that gets retold time and time again amongst my friends.

My mates and I would often convene at a local park on a Sunday afternoon for a kick-a-bout, laze in the sun and for a few beers whilst we recollected the shenanigans from the night before. This Sunday was no different, and four of us met and started up a game of ‘Cross Bar Challenge’. In short, the game consists of two teams stood either side of a goal frame. Each team takes it in turn to have a shot at the goal frame, with 2 points awarded for hitting the crossbar and 1 point for a post with the winner being the first to get to a pre-determined number of points.

Fifteen or so minutes after starting the game, Simon turned up, his face beetroot purple as usual and it clashed quite spectacularly with his cropped ginger hair. His false leg made him waddle slightly, and due to his plump nature, was often referred to as ‘Weeble’.

“Alright wankers?”, was his delightful opening line.

“Fuck off Weeble you fat cunt”, retorted Jake.

“Yeah, yeah, Jake. Wind your neck in. You gonna let me join in or not?”

“Nah, fuck off Weeble”. We all started laughing.

“Listen mate”, I began, “We’re only playing first to twenty and we’re already on 16 so you can have a game soon. Have a fag and a beer, we won’t be long”.

Weeble sat down on the grass, opened a can and we restarted our game. It didn’t take long for Weeble to get bored and he soon started commenting on our wayward shots, saying things like, ‘Rubbish!’, ‘Your fucking shit’ and ‘I could do better’. To be fair he did have a point. Our shots were going all over the place and we were taking longer than expected to find a winner.
After I had lined up a pretty audacious long range effort which missed by a good 10 yards, Weeble muttered the immortal words,

“You’re not doing it right, let me have a go”.

“Ha! You can’t kick it high enough Weebs”.

“I bet I fucking can”.

Weeble got up slowly from the ground, untucked his t-shirt and waddled over towards us. I chucked him the ball. Weeble placed it under one arm and walked a few yards back before placing the ball on the ground about 20 yards from the goal. We were all ribbing him as he prepared his run up, asking him if he could even kick the ball the required distance, let alone hit the crossbar.

Weeble didn’t say a word. He made a small divot in front of the ball with his foot and took four big paces backwards.

“Go on then. Beckham, let’s see what you’ve got”, shouted my brother.

What happened next is a catalogue of events that will remain embedded in my mind until my last breathe. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion.
Weeble picked up as much pace as he could and his right leg went back behind him before he brought it forward at speed towards the ball. On impact, his prosthetic leg detached itself from his real leg, just above the knee, and arced skywards towards the goal, spinning foot over knee in the air as it went. His momentum caused Weeble to spin around twice on his standing leg like some sort of dizzy pirate, before collapsing to the ground. We looked towards the goal. Weeble’s leg collided with the crossbar, before flipping over to the other side of the goal. The ball ended up just short of the posts. We were in hysterics; it was a proper crying with laughter moment.

“HAAA! HAAA! HAAAAAAAAAA! Fucking classic. Weeble you daft cunt!”

Weeble lifted his head to look at us from the ground.

“2 points, lads. That’s how you do it”, was all he could muster before joining in with the laughter.

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