|One Last Time
||[Dec. 9th, 2012|12:14 am]
I'm just back from a fairly mundane 5-a-side at Uni Club with some Greeks. Honestly, these days, with the bitter December cold, and with all the football I've played over the last year and a half, I only go to keep some semblance of fitness up. It's very difficult now to *get up* for just another game of football.|
Friday evenings with Cristian Riveros and a bunch of Spaniards are the exception. Now those games are frenzied, frantic, non-stop. People perform the seal dribble on court, step-overs are the norm, and one-touch passing into space is always the expected thing. And there's a girl who shimmies, back-heels and does the most outrageous flicks imaginable - but I digress. Yesterday, completely carried away by the moment, while playing keeper, I dived full-length to keep out a shot, and then again to push away the rebound with my face. Two bad ideas. When I got up, I was bleeding from the knee, shoulder and mouth (my teeth are still hurting). As The Fraud would put it: hurts like heaven.
I suppose the point is that I cannot remember getting so crazily caught up in the moment for a long, long time.
Not since... PFL.
And I hear that back in the land of fading memories and forgotten dreams, it is starting again.
It's a strange thing. I don't think I was truly out of Law School last year, during the BCL. Everytime I stepped on to the astro-turf, I remembered the basketball court. I knew exactly when Jessup deadlines were. Spiritus, Univ Rounds, Univ Week and so on... I think part of my mental life was still following the Law School calender. I wrote about Law School on my blog, and it felt bittersweet. There were memories, and longing, and happiness. Difficult to cut lose so quickly, I suppose, when you spend five formative and madly intense years of your life in one place. And then, with the passing of the BCL, something changed. I thought of Law School less, remembered it fewer times. I went back in August, and after that, I don't think I've even blogged about it once. It's rapidly slipping to the back of my mind, behind veils of mist and smoke, as a new life, a new existence, takes me over.
And yet, the memory of PFL is as vivid as ever.
One last time, I think. This is the last year when all those whom I fought beside and against will take to the court. All of them, together. And for the ones I know best, the ones with and against whom I had the most memorable moments for so many years, on that floodlit basketball court, it is their last campaign. Some of them have won it all - twice. Some want to. Badly. And they will be there. As I wander about on the white cliffs of Dover next week, beneath the leaden grey skies and upon foreign shores, one last time, I will think of them all, and remember home. I will think of the Captain sprinting forward on a wild break-away to score the fifth goal against Manish Jha's team. I will think of Coomar with his ridiculous, bending free-kick against Nikki, and him raising his arms to the sky. I will think of Karpet sprinting from one end of the court to the other. And I will remember Vakasha clenching his fist and shouting "Hold the line!" the moment we went 2 - 1 up in the final. I will remember them all, in bitersweet joy and sorrow for all the beautiful things past, for all the memories that will never die, and silently, I will wish them good luck for their last time.
Yes, I will remember Moares too, of course he is, wherever he is, and all the others who, for thirty glorious minutes, time after time, left everything on that little, square strip of concrete, bathed in that alluring floodlight. Srikant, Jassi, Ashankan, Techi, Viraj, Basu, once teammates and opponents, and lucky enough to be still walking out there.
I will remember back-heels in the rain, and smile; 0 - 7 and 0 - 3, and grimace; penalty shoot-outs, and grin ruefully. But above all else, I will remember feet and ball. Because truly, at the end of the day, like we've all said to each other so many times, all that matters, once you walk on to that court... is what you do when the ball is at your feet.
PFL, the ultimate anodyne for all the existential anguish of the world. What I would give to be back there. Just for one week. Just one turn in the midfied, and the pass for the Captain to run on to. Once. Amidst the lights, the crowd, the passion, the fire, the rage, the ecstacy, the dreams, the yearning, the tears, the poetry, the song.
From somewhere, far away, I will be.