Football’s Final

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse and our theme chosen by guest landlady Nyo is “Childhood Experiences”, whether they be pleasurable or traumatic, but perhaps something that changed the course of your life or impacted you in some  unforgettable way.


Haibun prose is composed of terse, descriptive paragraphs, written in the first person singular. The text unfolds in the present moment, as though the experience is occurring now rather than yesterday or some time ago. In keeping with the simplicity of the accompanying haiku, all excessive words should be pared down or deleted. Nothing must ever be overstated.


Nerves shred my insides.It matters little that I was the hero of the semi final, the reason we are in the final. It’s a new game now. There is a crowd. The first time I have played in front of people. In front of my parents. My father. The ex footballer. Ex goalkeeper. My position now. We walk out onto the pitch. Reassuring glances from the sideline only serve to deepen my sense of foreboding. By half time we are 2-0 down. The first goal my fault. The second a mix up in defence but the manager blames me for that too. Their goalkeeper played the game of his life. ‘If only we had him’ I can hear them all thinking, semi final heroics a distant forgotten memory. Winning is all that matters. We lose. 2-0. The manager scowls at me for breaking his dream. We have history. My fault. Again. My father does not know how to do empathy so he reminds me of the technical aspects of my errors and how he would not have made them.  I am alone in this.


pressure to succeed

weighs heavy on young shoulders

too young to let go



16 thoughts on “Football’s Final

  1. ladynyo says:

    Ahhhh….this is so sad, and relatable, Paul. Excellent haibun….there is a forward pull to this, and keeps the attention to the end. I;ve done this to my son…about a blotched recital and I regret it hugely. I showed no empathy then. Your haibun is lovely.

  2. Bodhirose says:

    Children do blame themselves mightily when they let people down who they look up to and who have placed a heavy weight on their young shoulders. I’m still working on forgiving my mother and father for all the “slights” I got from them throughout the years…it’s a difficult task to face at times. Well done, Paul, and my heart went out to your young self.

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