Football brother of mine, football is the spitting image of one football game!
I am almost sober seeing your gay face again. The night has been long enough to choke me with thoughts of those beautiful years that went by. Strangely or not, I am most at peace knowing that certain elements of this beloved history still lingers with us.
Tonight, I speak to you of the legendary toast of game we called One Touch.
Like its name suggested, a player was allowed to touch the ball only once, and could only kick it again when another had had his turn. In its most basic form, it involved two players stationed a few yards apart where each player kicked the ball toward the other with the expectation of making a goal. Rather than using their hands to grab the ball, the players were required to kick it back; this game we called One One.
Now, brother of mine, there was another manifestation of One One where you could grab the ball with your hands. But in the One Touch version, it was considered a foul to touch the ball with any part of your hand. Corollary to this was the presence of a penalty when your kick did not reach its intended destination. Say, for instance, you were so hard pressed by the speeding ball your kick sent it sideways where it was blocked by a wall. “Oti,” was declared by your opponent; by the rules of the game, the opponent would kick it back at you with the expectation of making a score.
Don’t be deceived by the fact that this was being played among friends. History has shown that the closer the ties that bind you, the harder your colleague will kick the ball at you.
So unlike the Four Corners game, One Touch was in fact an expression on the ball. It was used to teach the 1-2 passing that we see in many football philosophies around us. This meant it was fused into many forms of football games like you might have guessed already. It was the first unspoken rule in the Four Corners for instance. And in the legendary game of Stay, One Touch was accompanied by the threat of a Shaidoo! scream. One Touch was, thus, the ultimate shape-shifter. It was the octopus of the football world.
In the all too familiar game of ‘drivins to go‘, aka Dribbling to Goal, there was another version which involved the One Touch routine. In this, each player tried their very best to kick the ball goalward with only one effort. It wasn’t until another had touched it that you were allowed a chance.
And listen to me, brother of mine, I am tempted to think you have had this all messed up in your brain. In none of the game was it the case of one player passing the ball toward a friend. In drivins to go, your main effort was to make a score with one kick. When your kick was blocked by another though, you were entitled to another kick. Again, I find your head nodding and your face aflush with a mischievous smile. No, it was not about having a chance at kicking the ball; that was a shortcut way of saying, you had the chance of battling it out with every other player on the field to kick the ball. And so a colleague, drank on vengeance for the harms you caused him, could make it his habit to kick the ball at you so you would not be allowed to kick the ball freely. In One One, each player had it at the back of their mind to make a score. Scores were tallied at the end of the game in certain instances. Otherwise, you were made to sit out at least one session if others were waiting on the sides.
Which is kind of what life is about, right? Are we not all of us fighting for the same opportunities on this earth? Are we not all drivers trying to overtake another, blaring our horns even at the ambulance with its mournful siren? Are we not battling it out for life’s fair choices, the women and the men, the nasty and the clever, in one big game at which we have but one chance? And, brother of mine, don’t be fooled that Yesterday and Today are siblings; Tomorrow, I would chuu you if I had the chance. In fact, I would chuu so hard you’d call me your IGP. Shatta on my mind!