Rollmop – The Footballer

Have you got a dog?  I have, or at least I think I have

Let me explain

You see I believe that the animal I live with, called Rollmop who has two very expressive ears, a pair of large pale blue invisible eyes, a huge black liquorice all sort nose, a lovely long coat of grey and white fluff out of which stick four enormous Yeti boots – is an Old English Sheepdog

She doesn’t

She thinks she’s a footballer.

Now, football is a sport that, to be really good at, you need to practice. And she does. Every day! All day!! If she can find a willing teammate.

Nothing is left out.  She does ball control and passing.  She takes penalty kicks, crosses, headers and even throws out of she’s goalie. Even the modern bit of the game – insulting linesmen and spectators [the cats] is done to perfection.

  • The practice session starts with the usual limbering up exercises.
  • Running on the spot [“is that really my food?”]
  • Concentration [“Now where is she going to put my bowl today?”]
  • Press-ups [“I’ll pretend I don’t care! She’s ready! No she’s not! Yes, it’s coming – why is she answering the phone now – of all things – she’s back – she’s forgotten – she hasn’t! Oh joy!]
  • Relaxation [“that was good – thank you. Now a short snooze and then ‘The Game’!”]
  • Big Match Time
  • The other team are on the field [putting away the dishes]
  • Tripping over the ball [“oops I accidentally moved it”]

It’s as though I’d blown the whistle!!!

Rollmop is away – dribbling [quite literally] and down for her first offensive! She passes the ball. It rebounds beautifully off the wall.  A quick one / two around the table.  There’s a vicious tackle from their defender [a chair but it’s bravely fought off. And now, a shot at Goal!

Out flies her left foot and POW it’s gone! But where? Oh, there!]

It’s a great handicap having to play in long haired Yeti boots.

But the goalie [me!] kicks it back. A long shot.

Ace footballer, Rollmop, capped 28 times for Britain, is speedily after it.

Attack follows attack. Some really classic moves are not altogether fully appreciated by the spectators [the cats] who appear to be trying to sleep.

Don’t they realise how important this game is? I mean, we stand to win …….. ooh all sorts of things!

We’re near the final whistle.  It’s very tense! The score, so far, is a draw.  Something must be done!

Rollmop is just waiting for the right moment. She plays for time gently patting the ball to a teammate, slowly edging it up the field.

The spectators must surely feel the excitement mounting.  Yes, a sleepy paw is seen to move. Not much, admittedly, but it is in the team colours – black and white!  Actually both cats are black and white, so I think that’s why the colour scheme was chosen!

Some marvellous footwork is executed, one can hardly see the ball! The speed must be outstanding!

Rollmop is nearing the goal. She’s running onto the ball. The goalmouth is open! It must be now!!

She shoots and – ahh oh dear – whatever happened there?

The spectators are leaving, rather angry at having been knocked over by w3hat can only be described as a flying tackle!

But who cares? We won! It was a goal!

After all, nowhere in the book of rules does it say that it’s a foul if you accidentally step on the ball? And happen to carry it over the line in your fur, while you yourself are upside down? Nowhere! Well, does it?

Rollmop’s glow of success can almost be seen. I have a worrying suspicion that she, now asleep, is dreaming of tomorrow’s match – and further world acclaim.

Sleep well ‘Rollmop of the Rovers’.

Not a dog at all!

Copyright 2020 Jenny Hanley