a “personal and team story” written in 1997
(continued from page 24 of Amandala dated Friday, February 5, 2021.)
Sow not in anger
There is also something else I would like to share with you all. It was taken from one of my favorite novels, SOW NOT IN ANGER, written by John O’Hara, and the title is “Appointment In Samarra.”
DEATH SPEAKS: There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the market-place, I was jostled by a woman in the crowd; and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra, and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks, and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd, and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samara.
Still a West German fan
I will probably put my foot in my mouth with my following comments (That is why I took a bath and washed my feet before making these comments). But this is the way I saw things, and I am not afraid to express my convictions. Back then I was a fan of West German football; I admired their discipline, their organization, and their power. I thought that they had a good mix between European and South American football. Granted that since the last World Cup, I believe that they have deteriorated a bit.
To me, the Argentinians were too physical, the Italians too defensive, the English and their long forward passes was a style of play that I never liked. Granted, a lot of things have changed since 1966, 1970, 1974, etc. Holland had some exciting years with their total football, as well as the circa-1974 Polish team. Belgium was also a powerhouse. Portugal around 1966 (with Eusebio) was one of my favorites. Brazil is still number one, although also slightly deteriorated.
I am still a West German fan. And I still believe the Germans were robbed in 1966 in England. I was in Mexico for the 1970 World Cup, and was in Puebla to see Uwe Seeler and West Germany destroy the English. Granted that Seeler did not have many physical attributes, but heart and determination and will power were his biggest assets. And when the other players had long given up, he had just gotten his second wind. You could say that single handed in the overtime period, he defeated the English.
The Mexicans were never my cup of tea, too pretty, too many fancy passes going nowhere. The African teams are now teams to be reckoned with; they have made giant strides on the world stage. Beware the USA; they are coming, sooner than later.
Spurs’ last season, 1973-74
Spurs’ last season was the 1973-74 competition. In that year, the season ended with: Landivar – 21 points; Spurs – 18 points; BEC – 18 points.
In the playoff for 1st runner-up, BEC defeated Spurs, 2-1. And that was the end of a very special time in my life. I did what I had to do, and I did it to the best of my ability. Am I a whiner? Certainly not! Am I crying sour grapes? Definitely not! I have written things the way I saw them. I enjoyed the good times, and regretted that I could not have accomplished more. Those who worked with me and whom I understood I have talked about; also those that I could not understand have also been mentioned fairly. Maybe they could not understand me; maybe my song came at the wrong time. Who knows?
On today’s game in Belize
You might be wondering why is it that I have not commented on the state of today’s game in Belize. Frankly, since 1974 I have witnessed Belize football only twice: once in San Ignacio when Ronald Hulse was playing in a 35-and-Over competition; and once at the MCC Grounds to see two out-district teams play. So it would not be fair for me to comment or criticize football in Belize today. All I can say is, surely there are people and players out there who are fighting heart and soul for the game as I once did.
And I would like fans and players and the Belizean public at large, to realize that back in those days, many people along with myself fought and worked hard for football, a sport we all loved.
I wish all the best to those involved in football presently – players, fans, sponsors, referees, officials, etc., and everyone else. And remember that NO STONE BUILDS UPON ITSELF.
– THE END –
(AMANDALA Sports Ed. Note: In Part 3 of his Spurs football story, Teddy had mentioned his effort at publishing a quarterly sports magazine back in 1972, of which he was successful in publishing two editions: “Football In British Honduras” dated January 1972, and “The Sports Special” dated April 1972. In future issues of Amandala, we hope to share selected articles from those magazine editions for their historical value.)