• Roy Merchant

COVID-19 Distraction No.3



As I have been telling you for the last few weeks,I have been getting ready to publish my second book as COVID-19 laughs at us from its invisible hiding place. and shows no remorse in making our lives difficult. But it will pass. Hopefully soon.

My new book


"20 Things I Wish I Knew At 20"


will be available soon..

Here is the 3rd of my COVID-19 Distraction, short stories. This one is a longer story than usual (Just over 500 words) and some of you may have seen it before on other pages, but I like it and reading it again, thought I would share it once more, takes me back to when I was a father of young children.


It will be part of "Images" a collection of short stories I am hoping to get out later in the year.



An afternoon with my son


It was a cold October evening. The previous Fridays had been nice and warm. It seemed as if the last days of the Indian summer were going, and the grass would not need mowing again for another six months or so. My son was ten years old and although he preferred Badminton to Football, nevertheless was a good defender in the school team. He was a big boy, with a good football brain and could be relied on to intercept and get the ball up to the midfield players. He seldom went upfield himself, preferring to ensure that no one got past him to threaten the goalkeeper. On this particular Friday, all the parents arrived early to see how our team would fare against St. Dominic’s, the local league leaders. There was a little frisson between the two teams. As well as the best football team, they also had the best academic results of primary schools in West Essex. In fact, they were seen as a beacon primary school by OFSTED. The match was delayed while Reece finished his detention. Mr Witherspoon had tried in vain to get Mrs Jackson to postpone it until next week. Mrs Jackson, not remotely interested in football, took great delight in reminding Mr.Witherspoon that next week was half term, and the only thing she would be detaining was her cat. Mr.Witherspoon, kicking himself for the mistake made a quick exit back to the football pitch where he felt safe. He had never liked that blessed woman anyway.


The match finally kicked off, and they were slaughtering us. By half time, our team was lucky only to be losing 3-0. My son was our best player as far as I was concerned. St. Dominic’s score would have been double, had he not saved four shots from going in. Mr Witherspoon started discussing match tactics before they came off the pitch. Our team came out with new confidence in the second half and treated their opponents with the contempt we had suffered previously. We were all over them, and I was hoarse from shouting, especially when it got to 3-3, and only five minutes remained. St. Dominic’s, like most arrogant people, knew only how to win. They did not know how to dig in and fight, so when pressure was applied, they simply fought amongst themselves.

I was thinking this when from the corner of my eye, I noticed my son with the ball on his left foot going upfield. He went past their attackers and midfielders with ease, dummied their giant lumbering defender and slid the ball delicately pass the goalkeeper, into the back of their net.


I shouted. I screamed and after the whistle, gave him the biggest hug ever. He smiled and said he did not know what all the fuss was about. I smiled because I could see how good it made him feel. It really was the best day of his young life so far.


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