Sunday, 10 June 2018

End of Season Roller Round-Up 2017/18

Four Marks FC
I should really stop entering internet competitions. I've never won one. I never will.

There was one at the end of the season on a start-up site sponsored by a betting company. Why they set their website up in April, so close to the end of 2017/18, I don't know. Anyway, they were offering big prizes for a poetry competition:

Send us your poems about rollers and you could win £1,000 in cash, plus a season ticket for your favourite club!

Well, this competition looked too good to be true. I had to enter. No chance of winning, obviously, but if I didn't try, I'd regret it forever. Or at least 30 seconds, and then I'd forget all about it.

I had writer's block. I couldn't get beyond the following, extremely trite ditty:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Rollers are rusty
And so are you!

Well, if they only had one entry, I would win, so why not?

AFC Stoneham
I logged in to the website, typed out my terrible poem (feeling a little embarrassed, to be honest) and forgot all about it.

A week later, I bumped in to an old friend. He told me he'd got a job with this betting company in the marketing department. Unbelievably, it had been him that had come up with the idea of the poetry competition! I bought him beers for the rest of the evening whilst he showed me the other entrants on his smartphone. For example, this effort about the roller at AFC Stoneham:

Misty, cadaverous, as old as Stonehenge
The haunted roller appears
Forgotten, desperate, seeking revenge
Coffin-bound for eight thousand years
Howling with hatred, tormenting the innocent
The haunted roller appears
The rusted zombie groundsman's equipment
Of your nightmares and day fears

I couldn't help it. I shouted out:

Who ya gonna call? Roller Busters!

My old friend laughed and agreed it was a bit of an overwrought effort.
Havant & Waterlooville

Then there was this one about the moppy rollers at National League Havant & Waterlooville:

Another wet day in Havant
The thirtieth day in a row
Another day for their rollers
To be our spongey heroes

Slurp it up and regurgitate
Like a parent hawk for its chick
This pitch needs to be puddle-free
We need it to be in good nick!

I didn't like the last line. I told my friend it didn't scan properly. He had no idea what I was talking about. He'd never read a poem in his life. He said he'd put it to one side. If there was nothing better, he'd consider it for the prize. I rolled my eyes.

Borth United
Then he showed me this one about the roller at Mid Wales League Borth United:

Come hippie missiles and fall on Borth
Loaded with unicorns and glitter and flowers
Give the team strength to rise up and finish fourth
And give the players wings and laser boots and other super powers

Well, that was so poor, I was beginning to think my trite effort had a chance. One thousand pounds! I could see me renting an open-topped bus for the day, buying myself a cheap trophy and riding up and down Shirley High Street waving my cup around as if I'd just personally won the Champions League.

Dream on, baby. There were more poems...

Bishop's Waltham Dynamos
The next one sounded quite meaningful. For the first time that evening, I was worried:

In a world of circles
He felt like a hexagon
Every divot judged as a jerk.
He wished he had feet and legs.

"I can't avoid the broken glass,
The fox, the goose, the dog shit,
The rancid lumps of bubblegum,
The rocks and stones and beercan lids"

Imagine if you had to roll instead of walk
To squeak squeak instead of talk
Squelching over slugs and spiders
Feeling like a reversed Midas.

In a world full of potholes
Don't be a roller (or a wheel)
In a world full of hot moles

 ...Now you know how they must feel.

But I saw a glimmer of hope. It was that penultimate line about the hot moles. It was rubbish! I bought my friend another beer and pointed this out to him. He was in agreement! I still had a chance.

Godalming Town
Another drink downed. Another two poems to go:

There's a bird called a roller
It doesn't ta-whit
It doesn't ta-whoo
It lets out more of a KWEEK!

There's a roller called a roller
It doesn't rotate
It barely moves at all
And when it does, it lets out a SQUEAK!

That's because it needs some oil.

Well, that clearly wasn't going to win anything, unless the betting company had some sort of Rotten Tomato Prize...

Michelmersh & Timsbury FC
Just one more entry, according to my friend, who by now was on his seventh pint. I offered to buy him another one, and he told me how much he hated his job and all his insufferable workmates and how he'd like to hand in his notice and drop his trousers on his way out of the office and how he'd like to write exactly what he thought about them all on his bum cheeks as he disappeared for the last time...

When your skin flakes off
It becomes dust
When a roller's skin erodes
It becomes rust

I just laughed out loud at that last one. I told my friend that if he dropped his pants, I'd write my poem on his cheeks in permanent marker and it would be the perfect riposte to his awful colleagues...

Overton United FC
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Rollers are rusty
And so are you!

According to the stories I read on social media the next day, he actually carried out his threat! My poem, his arse, all over Twitter!

Needless to say, I didn't win the poetry competition. Nobody won. The betting company found some legal loophole which meant there would be no £1,000 prize, and no season ticket for the lucky winner. To be honest, I don't think anyone deserved to win, as the entries were so uniformly dire.

But I was so close, so close to victory for the first and only time in my life...

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