Hunter Journal – Day 2

Things went wrong almost as soon as I stopped writing last night. We were going to try and sleep in shifts, god knows we needed the rest. Big Rab was on the first shift although I didn’t get any sleep. There was a report on the radio about a murder in Waterside, a town just up the road. the police believe it was linked to a car theft earlier that evening. We’re gonna have to keep a watch out for the cops now. Big Rab had just lay on the bed to try and get to sleep when the door was knocked, He looked at the spyhole but nobody was there.

I heard movement outside and peeked out to see four or five well dressed guys getting out the back of a truck. They went straight for our borrowed flatbed. The door knocked again. I came up with the idea of storming out like in a movie. Rab was to pull the door open while me and Big Rab jumped out to surprise whoever was there. The hallway was clear apart from one big guy looking back at us as he turned the corner. I raced up the corridor and looked round. The motherfucker had been waiting for me. He waved his hand across his chest and walked off. I was having trouble moving like my breathing was restricted and my chest felt tight. He got about halfway down the stairs before turning back. He motioned as if he throwing something at me as sure as fuck felt like he had. Something smashed into my chest hurling me backwards, my ribs are bruised to fuck. By the time Big Rab got to me the guy had gone. The others joined us at the top of the stairs and Big Rab filled them in. We could only assume the whoever it was would be waiting with his buddies downstairs, we were as good as trapped. Grame and Rab set off the fire alarm to try and buy us some time and as people started flooding out One Punch Wonder and a couple of his henchmen were trying to push past them to get back up the stairs to us. We all pretty much decided the window was the best way.

Running back into our room I was shocked to find a head looking over our window ledge, especially as we were on the second floor. I grabbed a chair and rammed it legs first through the window and into the guys face. The guy screamed and dropped out of sight. I climbed the ledge and jumped, landing as I’d hoped onto the roof of a car below. The drop didn’t seem that high but try it sometime. It seems our peeper had been standing on a friends shoulders and when I hit his buddy they both fell. I scrambled over and held a gun to the guys head to cover everyone’s escape. Once they were all clear I smashed the guy in the face with my gun and ran for the truck. We hit the motorway and fled.

So who were these guys in the suits? I remember seeing a car further up the motorway when I was peeking out. We passed it as we fled and it looked empty but I’m sure it hadn’t been. They weren’t the cops. Highland patrol would never have done anything like that. They didn’t seem to look like the werewolf, I didn’t get the same feelings of revulsion or anything. And what the fuck did that guy do to me? It was like a psychic punch or something. This shit is just getting weirder and weirder.

cottage
Patrick Down @ Flickr

We wanted some answers, hell we needed some, so we decided to go back to where it began. Back to Shotgun Guys cottage. We pulled up outside. Didn’t look like anybody was home. Big Rab burst open the front door and the smell just rolled out. One of Shotgun Guys buddies had been pinned to the wall and gutted. There was blood everywhere. I almost threw up, had to fight with my stomach not to. Without anyone to give us answers we started looking about for the black bags Rab had claimed to see yesterday. In a few we found handguns but I know you can’t buy these to go hunting deer with. On the wall was a great looking longbow which Rab claimed for himself, no big loss, I’d be more likely to hurt myself with it. In the corner was a road map with lots of notes. Towns and villages were marked with names and phone numbers. There wasn’t any here but East Kilbride had a number and two names.

The smell was really starting to get to me. I was gonna step outside when another van came bouncing down the trail and screeched to a stop. Five guys piled out and ran for the cover of the tree lines. Before long their intent was clear when they started firing arrows at the house. Fucking trapped again! So we back ourselves, ready to make another last stand. Five of them storm in, straight into a hail of our gunfire. The first gets blown back out of the doorway, the other four leap towards us. I spy the one at the back has a gun while the others only have chunks of wood(I say only, still wouldn’t like to get thumped with one) so I level a shotgun and blow his head clean off, well not so much off as apart. One minute there was a head the nest it was just a cloud of blood. Someone else offed another, Big Rab smashed one unconscious with the butt of his gun and Rab got one in the leg with the bow. We grabbed our new captives under to have another arrow fired at us from the doorway. Our new attacker broke cover and ran to their van. Rab got him through the neck with the bow. It’s a good thing he wasn’t a decoy or Rab would have been an easy target. From the leaders body I recover a strange amulet shaped like a pentagram and looking all occulty. I take his wolfskin sash as well. Graeme tries to get some answers out of the arrow perforated captive but in a lapse of concentration the guy pulls a knife and swings for Graeme’s face. He was real lucky the butt of the handle hit him instead of the blade! I took the other hostage into the back of the van. I figured we could scare him a little. These guys think they know about werewolves, I figure if I poke him a little with the silver knife, a couple of shallow cuts could get him singing. I think I’m making some headway when Rab and Graeme drag the guy from the van and take aim at him.They were going to execute him. Just shoot him in cold blood. Now I know that with everything that’s happened we’re no angels but every crime we have committed has been in the interests of survival. They don’t seem to be bothered with my reasoning. While Graeme and I are arguing Rab just simply shot him. I actually puked. The whole thing was like a nightmare, worse than anything that has happened to us.

We stole their van and found a mobile in the glove compartment. They had been following us the whole time, had people keeping watch for us. Apparently Mr Monstro has a brother who’s heading this was. I for one don’t want to meet him.

Right now we are heading back to East Kilbride. Home sweet home. We took the van up to Inverness, ditched it and hired a car and we’re driving back down the east coast. Once we hit Edinburgh we can head back west. Better safe than sorry.

I’ve got a shitload of questions and no fucking answers. I’m bruised, cut, tired, sore, confused and worst of all scared. What the fuck did we get into? And why can we see these monsters now?

——————————-

I’ve always wondered how Willie does it. He managed to make combat feel like part of the story rather than a break away where we have to roll dice until folk run out of hit points.

I should point out that during all gun fights we missed far more than we hit but as with all things you only ever remember the successful attempts which this journal highlights.

Looking back on it I’m still a little confused as to who the bad guys were and who the good guys were. I know we found out in the end but I’ll be buggered if I can remember who they were.

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Hunter Journal – Day 1

Day one, the first day of my new life. Two fucking words = whole world of trouble. It started with the camping trip.  We were in a secluded spot, a short car  journey from Aviemore. Our plans reached about as far as getting drunk and stoned. About twelve hours ago our plans took a turn for the worst, it took us a further four hours to really notice it. It all started with the damn dog.

Werewolf
PSD @ Flickr

We had been walking by the river, acting like big drunk kids, pushing each other into the water, hitting each other with sticks, stupid childish things that drunken guys do. When the dog came out of the bushes it came as quite a shock. Now personally, I fucking hate dogs. I’m pretty scared of them and they don’t seem to like me much either. This was a dog from my nightmares. Fucking huge, looked like it could take a chunk from any of us. That stupid bugger Davy starts waving a stick at it. Fearless it was too, just kept coming towards us growling. forced us all back to into the river. Then it turned tail and ran off, but that sure as hell wasn’t our doing.

When we got back to the camp things didn’t get any better. Someone had been there, going through out things. Nothing was missing but nobody likes getting their shit disturbed. Me, Rab and Stuart jumped in Davy’s van and followed the tyre tracks. They led us to a little wooden cottage, falling apart with age. Rab started nosing about when the owners turned up. Five folk with shotguns (and that fucking dog again) tell Rab that it’s in our best interests to clear out. Wish I’d taken that advice.

So we hurry back to the others and get packed up. The campsite is cleared in five minutes, tents are just pulled up and thrown into the back of the van. We get turned around and the fucking van dies. Davy jumps out and starts tinkering with the engine. Stuarts getting really nervous by this point and climbs up on to the roof to keep lookout I suppose. Big Rab gives him some company. Then it starts to get dark in the middle of summer, late evening and it’s getting dark. Heavy clouds were rolling in and the wind was building up to a gale. You could just feel the change in the air, kinda like how you can feel a thunder storm coming. In fact it was exactly like that. From the inside of the van we all heard Stuart’s mobile phone beep. Now his phones loud but to hear it above all the wind and engine noise? Not possible. Next thing Stuarts phone hits the windscreen in pieces as Big Rab jumps from the roof of the van and takes off at a run up the road. We can only look on with a bemused ‘What the fuck?” Then the wind picked up, whipping all the bushes and trees into a frenzy. One of the shotgun welcoming committee bursts from the treeline screaming at us to run. He turns and lets off his shotgun into the trees, but we can’t see if it hits a damn thing. So I jump and start shouting at Davy. “Come on the fuck man, we need to get the fuck out of here.” Davy slams down the bonnet and runs around the back of the van. He jumps and gets a big fucking machete, sticks it in the ground and jumps underneath. All the phones start beeping and they sound very loud for small phones. One text message. RUN. Shotgun guy runs back into the trees , shooting at god knows what. More shots ring out from further up the road. I run to the front of the van to see Big Rab standing over a dead body shooting at some big fucking thing.

If I thought that mutt from earlier was the worst thing I would see today then I was very fucking wrong. This thing stood eight feet tall and was covered in black fur. It’s forearms were as think as my head, it’s claws were the length of my forearms. Big Rab let off a few more shots then this thing takes off heading for the bushes. Big Rab runs back towards us. The monster appears back on the path behind him. The whole time Day’s still under the van and I’m kicking him. Then Stuart takes off like a fucking bunny and flees into the woods. Shotgun guy bursts from cover and heads for the two Rabs at the front of the van and starts taking shots at the big fucking beast again. Davy jumps out from underneath, jumps in the van and guns the engine into life. I run off after Stuart I’m able to catch up with him. He was crying, just sitting by the river and crying. We gotta go I tell him as I drag him back. I throw him into the back of the van and the shotgun guy throws his knapsack in behind us. He shoots this thing in the chest at point blank range, I swear I could see right through it. It must have been knocked back about ten feet by the blast. Nothing could survive that. He grabbed the door to pull himself in and the beast spears him from behind with those big fucking claws.It was horrible, blood was pissing from the guys chest all over the back of the van. It ripped out his stomach. Davy floors the van and we spend the next ten minutes bouncing about like fuck before we hit the main road. We pull into a layby and breath a sigh of release. Then we take a collective ‘What eh fuck’ before letting loose with questions that none of us can answer. Rab tells us to wait there and runs off up the road. Stuarts found himself a bottle of vodka and is well on the way to unconsciousness which is probably for the best.

So Big Rab starts ripping the tents up and using the canvas to clean up the van as best we can. I grab Shotgun guys knapsack and start nosing about. There is a journal (my inspiration for this), a file of computer print outs from the net, some chocolate, some ammo, a few handguns and a big ornate silver knife. Flicking through the file one word jumps out at me, Werewolf. How the fuck are we supposed to accept that? What the fuck tried to warn us? Mostly I wanted to know what the fuck was going on.

We take some time to tally up and find that we now have three handguns, a shotgun, a machete and this big silver knife. A Fiesta comes flying up the roaf and screeches to a halt beside the van, out steps Rab. “I stole it” he proudly announced. So Big Rab and me jump in the back. Graeme and Rab up front. We tell Davy to take the van and meet us at the travel lodge in Aviemore. Then another car pulls up. It’s like a flatbed farmers truck. This big guy steps out and asks us “Is that your car?” So I get out the passenger seat and say “No mate, it’s a rental.” He walks over to me, grabs me by my collar and says “You only had a van!” He throws me over the car with one arm. Graeme jumps out the passenger seat and gets knocked aside. The guy starts changing, growing, sprouting hair. I’m back on my feet and rooting around in my (Shotgun Guys) knapsack for a weapon when I grab the big silver knife. Mr Monstro jumps in to the car making a grab at Rab who managed to get his door open and jump clear. The thing grabs the front seats and pulls himself round till he’s level with Big Rab. Big Rab levels the shotgun and fires. In the enclosed space the sound is immense. All the Fiestas windows blow out. Mr Monstro fires through the windscreen and collapses across the bonnet before sliding off in the blood. I jump forward and ram the knife through the back of his neck. He throws me back but I keep a grab of the knife, ripping it out as I fall. Rab jumps back in and guns the Fiestas engine, flooring it and pinning Mr Monstro between the fiesta and his own truck. Big Rab levels the shotgun at his head and blows it off. Before we can register any of this police lights appear further back, from the way that Rab came. We root around on the dead body for car keys. Davy Takes off in the van with Stuart and we follow in the flatbed.

We caught up with Davy,got out stuff and headed out to a more out of the way travel lodge on the motorway. We’ve booked in and barricaded the door with the bed. We’re all really tired but none of us reckon we can sleep. I had a bit of a look through Shotgun Guys journal and files, it’s all cray shit about werewolves and vampires. I hope none of this is real, but if you can’t trust your own eyes… I just want to go home. Some of us feel like we should go back to the cabin and find Shotgun Guys friends, they might need our help but then again what can we do? I just want to stop feeling like my head is up my arse.

————————————————

This game was run by Willie. He has never been the biggest fan of rules and if I recall correctly it was his first time running a World of Darkness game of any kind. I think the WOD system suited him perfectly as he is a very story led GM. He relied on Mark and myself for rules clarifications and didn’t worry about what you could and couldn’t do with the rules. It was a better game for it.

It should be noted that in this game I am known as Big Rab for those that haven’t known me in real life for the last 15 years. You can tell where someone knows me from by whether they call me Big Rab, Robert or Bob.

All our characters had the skills we ourselves had. When I fired that shotgun I was doing so at huge minus to my rolls where as Davy was doing really well fixing that van using his own experience and skills to give him bonus dice.

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The Journal

I know, I know. I said I’d not be blogging over here for a while but I managed to find a long lost manuscript in my desk at work today whilst clearing out pedestal.

Journal
Mollycakes @ Flickr

Many many moons ago when our group averaged six or seven players per game we decided to run a Hunter game where we played ourselves. Willie would be the storyteller and everyone else drew up a character as close to themselves as possible. It’s been one of the few times that I’ve gamed where the trip home at the end of the night still had me on edge.

As part of his character Mark wrote a journal detailing his findings and what had happened to us. Rereading it still gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing.

————————————————————

And God said “Let there be light” and there was light.
And God said that light was good and God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light Day and the darkness Night.

To whoever finds this journal.

The entries in this journal may seem like a fantasy story, the ravings of a lunatic, nothing more than an imagination at wild. I can assure you that it is not.

I am fully expecting to die or disappear in strange or suspicious circumstances. Paranoia has become my watchword. If you are reading this then it is most likely that I already have. Perhaps what you read here may sound outrageous but stop and think. Do you know anyone who might be interested in this journal? Perhaps the strange guy at the office who talks about monsters. Perhaps your brother-in-law who attacked someone while shopping last week because the voices told him to. If you can pass them this journal you will be doing them a far greater service than you can ever imagine.

“There are more things on heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

I’m babbling now, so it’s best that I stop now. Be careful out there.

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‘I’ll take Film and TV quotes for 500 please Alex’

A few years ago I posted up a couple of TV and Film quote quizes and noone ever finished them off. Jeapardy

If you fancy your chances with the harder ones, and lets face it the easy ones have already been found, then why not give them a go.

Round 1 – Top 20 Film quotes

Round 2 – Top 10 TV and Top 10 Film quotes

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Spring Cleaning Or Procrastinating?

I have something like 6 working days left before I finish up and enter the land of the unemployed. There are 101 things to get done both around the house and to do with the business and yet I find myself using my spare moments at my desk at work playing about with things like flickr and re-adding my photoblog to this site.

I spend stupid amounts of time clearing out and organising my desk when in 6 days I’m basically going to be pouring the stationary into the stationary cupboard and the rest of it into the recycling bin.

I’m twiddling my thumbs and hating every minute of it but thanks to my current flexi-leave deficit I need to spend as much time as physically possible at work. It doesn’t help when the snow comes down that bad though the buses have trouble getting about town. I should really start making plans for getting home before it gets any worse and I end up having to walk home.

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That Day Has Finally Came. It's Time For A Sabbatical

You may have gathered from the last few months entries or lack there of that somethings been going on with The Dice Bag.

Without boring you guys with to many personal details between health issues and finishing up work after Christmas I’ve had absolutely no time or opportunity to write. I’ve got so many posts half written or or game content part designed and no chance to finish them. In the new year I have a couple of businesses to set up and hopefully I’ll be going back to university later in the year so something has to give. That basically means in the short term my time is going to be spent on getting money in my pocket and giving these businesses the best start I can give them.

Hopefully once they are up and running I’ll have the time to get this place back on track and maybe even improve it a little. If your that desperate I’ll still be around on twitter on either the @thedicebag account or @bobzilla and I’ll occasionally be updating my personal blog with well..personal things like how I’m doing or how well the businesses are going. Until that day however this is Bob at The Dice Bag signing out.

Bob & son

Wish me luck!

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Defending ‘Them’

I don’t know how closely you have been following the Iraq inquiry but every day it’s been running I’ve been following Channel 4′s twitter commentary as well as reading up on the roundups for the day wherever I find them. Almost everyone seems to want to get a kick in at DfiD.

John Scone @ Flickr

Earlier today Lt Gen Sir Robert Fry said,

We had DfID reps at planning HQ who could barely disguise their moral disdain for what we were doing.


Of course they did. The one thing that DfiD has running through it’s very bones is that it is a department with all but one aim and that isn’t going to war with people. They join up to help and the line that doctors on television seem to quote constantly about doing no harm is always at the top of the list of considerations when it comes to our work. Notice how I’m still saying ‘our work’…I reckon I’ll still be saying that for a few years to come despite finishing up here in a few days.

People being interviewed on the inquiry have said how we didn’t devote enough man power to the problem or how we didn’t engage properly with the other departments and the armed forces. No one engaged properly during that time and we now openly admit we should have got more people on the ground than we did. DfiD’s job isn’t to go in after our army kicks seven shades of crap out of people though. Our job is to help those living in poverty and to provide disaster relief where and when it’s needed. We don’t normally sit in on meetings where we’re told that x village is going to be ran over by tanks and that y substation is going to be blown up. That’s not disaster relief that’s mopping up after our army.

Clare Short took a beating for holding out for so long before quiting as our boss at the time the war started. Some say she should have towed the party line and made the department work the way they now wish it had within our government and with their international partners . Others had a go at her for holding out for so long before giving in. Having worked under her, all be it in Scottish part of the headquarters rather than the London office, we got the impression that she was holding on to make sure that DfiD carried on pushing for some sort of international consensus on things even if the UN resolution she was looking for wasn’t going to happen. She wanted to fight on until it became obvious that it didn’t matter what she said or did they would go ahead with the invasion.

I guess the reason that I’m getting worked up about all this is that it’s not just a case of I work for DfiD. I didn’t work in Iraq for DfiD or indeed for that matter in the Iraq Directorate in the London office but I did work closely with them. At the time I worked on the overseas team in the Human Resources Department. We dealt with sending the officers out there. The team beside me did the recruiting for the posts that came up in country and did all the personal stuff for those that got the jobs. We helped organise the hazardous location training, booked the flights to meet up with the military flights out of Kuwait, dealt with all the claims they sent in and organised their breather breaks. People I knew from within our office were out there running the offices. I gave serious consideration to applying to go out myself to help with the handover of the programmes to the Iraqi people.

There was never a sense of anyone involved not caring or not wanting to engage. In fact until this inquiry I had never actually heard a bad word about DfiD’s contribution and that was from talking to a broad spectrum of people including soldiers who had done tours in Basra and UN staff working with them in Baghdad. That’s not saying it’s not true. I just get the impression that after Gordon Brown’s recent comments about merging DfiD back into the FCO that we have become the scapegoat.

I wonder when I’ll change my thoughts on DifD from ‘we’ to ‘those buggers that basically threw my job away’?

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It Was A Good Journey

I went to pick up my camera earlier tonight only to find it had died.

Apparently it’s a common problem on the Canon 300D. The sub-mirror won’t retract when it’s taking a shot and so all I get is a photo that is black on two-thirds of it.

It can be fixed. I could fix it even. I’m get the feeling though that it’s going to cost an armand a leg to fix even though all it takes is a paperclip if I was brave enough to dig past the flash board and it’s capacitors.

Ho hum. :(

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So How Well Did We Collaborate?

It’s been a while but this months blogging carnival which is being hosted by The Bone Scroll hit me like a carrot on a stick. After Viri Cordova had to pull out of hosting it at the last minute The Bonemaster stepped in to keep it going.

This month we’re looking back at a previous carnival hosted by unclebear where we commented on our resolutions for the year. This isn’t something I normally do so I took a different slant on things and talked about how I thought the year would go both for myself and for everyone else in the RPG Bloggers network.

collaboration

ChrisL AK @ Flickr

So to cut to the quick I have to say that I failed but you guys took the ball and ran with it. From a personal view point almost everything I touched and took part in has remained unfinished and in some case have been forgotten about. I signed up for the RPGBN collaborative campaign setting which seems to have died a death. I had to pull out of helping start up Nevermet Press and my contributions to Geek Dad have dried up as well.

I could lay blame on a lot of things but it comes down to two very significant events in my year. In April I was diagnosed as dyslexic and despite feeling good about finally understanding my failings and realising I wasn’t as stupid as I usually felt I was at the back of my mind it’s became the new excuse. It’s my go to answer for not being able to do anything. It really isn’t an excuse but I’m only just beginning to come to terms with what it means and after fighting with my work for the last 8 months to get help has mostly fallen on deaf ears I’m now taking voluntary redundancy in order to start a business up and look into returning to university later in 2010. I’ve lived for 33 years without knowing I was dyslexic and managed to get by so why should that knowledge change matters now.

The second event was the birth of my daughter. I just didn’t have the time for writing and gaming in 2009. She’s great but only now am I able to do anything other than look after her and her brothers and sisters. We had so many worries with her sister that even the slightest cough or illness gave us sleepless nights.

So why, I hear you ask, does this have anything to do with gaming and blogging? Well my involvement with the groups I pulled out of and my Geek Dad articles were aimed at pushing people towards others great work. I managed to help out a little bit but nowhere near as much as I’d liked to have.

Nevermet Press has had a hugely successful year and with the upcoming work they are about to release I can only wish them even more success especially as I can’t be as involved as I’d like to be.

The RPG Bloggers Network has grown that huge in such a short period of time that they now have the writers of the games we play joining us in our blogging ways.

The RPG Circus podcast has taken off and has found many followers as well and wouldn’t have worked without collaboration between the bloggers involved.

There were many more collaborations this year that ended well and it didn’t just have an impact in our blogging field. The building of grassroots following of games helped launch new systems and places like GenCon managed to see just what can be done when gamers and writers from across the world can do when they get together.

I may not have been involved directly with most of these success stories but I like to think that indirectly I helped out in any way I could.

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Jumpers For Goal Posts – Part 2

When we moved up into Primary 7 our footballing world changed considerably. Gone were our best players and we didn’t have enough new talent coming through from the year below us to pose a serious threat to anyone. We called in a few of the fringe players from Primary 7 and they actually surprised us even if they weren’t used to playing in an 11-a-side team. The other change was that one of the other local schools was being refitted and their P6 and P7 classes moved into our school for a year. Where we used to struggle to to fill two 7-a-side teams for games at lunchtime we were getting 14 v 14 at times and it became an intense rivalry over the weeks and months that it went on. Games would be started at the morning break if we hadn’t already managed to get a game underway before school actually started in the morning. We’d then have a long ‘half’ at lunchtime where our players would join in as and when they finished their lunch and we would finish it off at the afternoon break. The rivalry went much further than just football though. When it came time for the local school swimming championships one of their players managed to get a silver in the 50m freestyle competition. Their joy was short lived when they realised that Craig had stole the gold and I’d brought home the bronze. I don’t think we ever let them forget that.

East Milton football team

This year seen our best result so far and possibly the one result we remember. We didn’t even win and it was our best result. How sad is that? As with almost all schools in the West of Scotland there is a huge rivalry between the catholic schools and the non-catholic schools. Some say it’s a bad thing but at that age almost no one is interested in bigotry side of things as it’s all about the fact we were better than they were at whatever we were playing or vice versa. Our Lady of Lourdes Primary was our enemy. Where we had a healthy rivalry with Kirktonholme as they were sharing our school Our Lady of Lourdes was actually the nearest school to where most of us lived. If I went to the corner shops at the end of my street you could see it. We never mixed with them and so the only time we could get one up on them was during sports. Unfortunately they had one of the best teams in the league. The previous year they were putting six or seven goals past us with ease but this time we were determined to get something back from them.

I’d been moved over to play in central defence by this point and I managed to get a good understanding with the other defenders. Nothing could get past us on the ground as every time the ball came near us we would throw a crunching tackle in and clear the ball back up the park. Where we fell down however was we were still as slow as hell. All it took was someone to realise that we couldn’t keep up with their forwards and boot the ball over our heads and have it come down to a foot race. Our Lady of Lourdes hadn’t worked this out though. We got stuck into them hard during a cup game and pretty soon we were drawing 2-2 with them and the scoreline stayed that way until the final whistle. You would have though we had won the cup given the way we were celebrating. Before the game we were told that in the event of a tie as there was no time for replays and because we were under a certain age and couldn’t play extra time whoever put the most pressure on the other team and won the most corner kicks would be declared the winner. For every corner they had won we must have won at least two we were that worked up about this game. Then their headmistress got involved. It was unheard of for her team to lose like that and was putting in a complaint that the referee was biased towards us. There we were having played our hearts out and finally won something even if it wasn’t technically a win and she was pulling it away from us. I’d skinned the entire length of my leg on the ash park after throwing everything I had into every tackle and ended up having to get a lift back to the first aid room at the school. Whatever happened after that game though we have no idea but we found out at the next practice that we were having to replay the game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bunch of eleven year olds make so much noise in disgust before. Needless to say they put about 13 goals past us in the replay.

We took part in a seven-a-side competition in Strathclyde Park about midway through the season and were about the only team from East Kilbride taking part. Sometimes I wonder how we managed to get into these things when we were so far down the league but we never questioned it at the time. In our group stage were three other teams and basically if you didn’t win two out of your three games you weren’t going through to the next round. So the first game we played we were completely overwhelmed. There was no beating about the bush they were just far superior to us. At this point we realised that the team we were due to play next was being managed by Derek Ferguson and as we were almost all Rangers supporters we spent more time trying to talk to him than concentrating on the games. As I can completely understand now he got a little pissed off with us and ended up have our manager pull us away so that he could work with his team. It was at this point that someone realised that the reason Derek was managing the next team was that his younger brother played for them. We were royally beaten but the game didn’t end before I managed to kick the younger brother, Barry, up in the air and almost end his future career before it started*. It wasn’t malicious but I was terrified Derek was going to beat seven different shades out of me. We got stuck in and as with any competition we ever entered we started to play well as soon as it was impossible for us to win anything. We beat that team but we were on the bus home within 5 minutes of the game ending feeling as though we hadn’t won a thing.

Again we finished second last in the league although this time I managed to captain the team a couple of times.

Even 7 years later when I was still playing for hours every night I could never get that feel for competitive football again. Throughout secondary school I never played a game outwith P.E. and certainly was never picked to train with the team. I became more comfortable on the ball and my passing improved and with that my position gradually changed from a centre half to somewhere in the midfield. I don’t play football very often now. Those of my friends that do play all have regular games which I can never get into and to be honest until I get a clean bill of health from the doctors anything that involves me running about is off the cards.

I would spend days and weeks playing Football Manager/Championship Manager on my computer during the winter months whilst waiting for the weather to become good enough to play for real. I ate up anything I could find to read about Rangers and followed every game on TV. To this day I’ve still never set foot in Ibrox and in all honesty I’m not really a fan of watching the game but I still love to play it. I guess it makes me feel like I’m eleven again.

* Barry went on to play for and captain Glasgow Rangers and Scotland over his years of playing professional football.

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