Hockey. Not The Best.
England’s fixture list is a hefty volume that has ballooned out in recent years to incorporate oddball warm-up fixtures against the likes of Wales, Warwickshire and Harrow 3rd XI. This week the computer spewed out a match against themselves. Or the supposedly more rubbish version of themselves, the England Lions. And the second string won.
The only comparable archive I can pull out of my personal sporting experience is a trial game I played for my under-14 school ‘D’ team against the superior ‘C’ team. I spent most of the first half adjusting my shin-pads (I had very fragile shins) before an ignominious hand on my shoulder hauled me off in the direction of the ‘E’ team. I say team, but it was more an athletic leper colony, a tiny squadron of diabetics, future computer programmers, and the kind of young men whose sole amusement lies in firing peas out of his nostrils. Our only obligation was to wave off the cavalcade of minibuses carrying the rest of the teams off to such exotic locations as Wisbech and Chigwell.
It was the start of a lifelong disaffection with field hockey, which I now consider to be a non-entity of a sport. When I see someone carrying a hockey stick (which is nearly always at Clapham Junction) my inner voice is loudly condemning them as massive fannies.