We met each other next to the doorway of a book store. To my “How are you doing today?” and “That seems ages ago!” he answered: “I am fine!” and “That should be almost forty years ago, as I am 72 now.” In those years we used to play soccer in the same team. He as a robust and very motivated never-give-up midfielder and I being a goalkeeper under the cross bar and between the posts behind him. “Oh yes”, he sighted, “that were legendary matches we played. Do you remember against X?” Reading my expression he undoubtedly came to the conclusion that I did not recall this event quite clearly. “It was in the season 1978-1979. Dying seconds of the game. I had scored -a miracle!- two goals. 2-1 In our favour. A penalty kick for the other team. Still unjustified in my opinion. All I could think of was a victory and a match[1] point down the drain. It was too overwhelming. I hardly dared to look!” He demonstrated how he did then: One hand before his eyes. He looked at me, peeping between his fingers: “This is how I watched. You saved the penalty kick, touched the ball away from the bottom right hand corner!” Of course I had a flash back now while he hit me on my shoulder as if it had to be celebrated one more time. “That was the penultimate match of the season. We became second, just missed the championship. We were able to cope, we had a very strong team.” He continued: “The next season we reached fourth place. But then we succeeded to defeat a First Divisionist[2] in a cup-tie: 1-0. Our goal in the first minutes. Heavy and only defending it, delaying tactics. But we made it!” His mind went back in time again: “That season we were very successful at first. Number one in the league. A long Winter followed, snow and rain. We re-started the second half of the season no sooner than March. An away match. The pitch was so bad. Do you remember?” I did not. “Two players sent off, one in each half.” “What was the result again?” I wanted to know. “We lost: 3-1.” He looked at me reproachfully: “It was not exactly your best match”. He shrugged his shoulders: “We only won one more match. Only one…two draws.” Thoughtful he added: “As far as I know 1-1 and 0-0. We lost six times in a row. Nothing worked out fine. How could all this misery happen?” It looked like he was still thinking about an explanation: “K. and H. removed for study reasons. Lousy work out pitch, poor attendance. Many injuries, too: Hamstrings.”

He looked on his watch, a signal that, as far as he was concerned, our conversation was about to come to an end. He said: “Did I come out of the bookstore or do I have to go in yet?” As he did not carry a soccer magazine under his arm -I cannot imagine him ever reading any different lecture- I told him: “No, you have to go in”.

On the picture the midfielder is on the lowest row right, I am standing with ball and in a yellow shirt


.[1] In those days you got 2 points in the ranking for a winning match and 1 for a draw; Today it is 3 points for a winning  match.

[2] We played 3rd Division.

10 thoughts on “Memory

  1. The story is really interesting, although I do not know much about football the details of your story made it interesting and how you anticipated some reactions from him.
    It was really good but I want to know what happened after that, do you guys still talk?
    And what happened during those days after the match?

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. In this story I want to show, how differently thoughts and memories can be: A person (“my” midfielder) knows the details of years and years ago, where to me only a few “pop ups” remain. Yet he cannot recall if he has been in the book store or not.

      No, I did not meet him again since last April. Yes, I sometimes meet other guys from the team. During the days after the match we usually meet on work out evenings, 2 or 3 times a week. I played football/soccer for 25 years. After that the football/soccer adventures are slowly disappearing behind the horizon of time.

      I am jogging/running now!

      Thank you again!

      Johan Wijngaarden

  2. Hey John:

    Your post points up an interesting thing about memory… how each of us remember very different things even though we participate together in some event or other.

    Perhaps that’s why it’s important to tell and listen to the stories we tell each other about the lives we share. It helps us to remember the parts that have slid away in the intervening years.

    We get back pieces of ourselves when we listen to the stories of the people with whom we’ve shared our lives.
    I think that’s a cool thing….

    1. Thank you for reading one of my stories (In fact the latest I wrote) and for your valuable comment. You are right. Trying to be a writer of (short) stories I always try to listen carefully to other people’s stories. What you are looking for might just be around the corner…

      Thank you again!

      Johan Wijngaarden

  3. (Again) I am glad you liked to read it, Cinderella! I am happy with any of your visits to my site. There will be new posts and pages (you can select and read these by clicking in the menu on top) every now and then.
    Johan Wijngaarden

  4. Johan

    Wat ziet je site er professioneel uit !
    En de foto toont een jonge Johan die zijn mannetje stond als goalie.. Those were the days.!

    1. Bedankt Wim!
      En dan te bedenken, dat er nog bijna dagelijks aan gewerkt wordt!
      Van de team foto ken ik nog alle namen…
      Bedankt voor je bezoek!
      Johan Wijngaarden

  5. Wat een mooi verhaal over herinneringen Johan!
    En mooi dat je zo’n foto nog hebt en je alle namen nog herinnert.

    1. Gelukkig kom ik tot mijn eigen verrassing, sinds ik met mijn site bezig ben (inspiratie!), toch nog weer tot een aantal nieuwe verhalen. Het verhaal over Ethan Leinwand, “Low Down Piano”, “Memory” en “Boogie woogie stomp”, maar ook “Pampus en “Flying High” horen er bij. Uit mijn twee boeken “Spookloper” en “De Tweede Helft” ben ik nu de meest geschikte verhalen aan het vertalen. “A Grave in the USA” en “Nationality” horen in die categorie. Het worden er zo’n 35 tot 40, genoeg voor één of twee Engelstalige boeken.
      Bedankt voor het lezen en voor de reactie!
      Groeten uit Heerenveen/Greiden

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