I recall when we were kids playing village football. We had talented players - dribblers, attackers, defenders and all. However, there was really no professionalism in our football, only raw skills begging for harnessing. There were no wingers as such apart from the goalkeeper and backmen. Even at that, a goalkeeper who sees a chance could run from his post to score at his opponent's post, and run back to his own duty post. Generally, we simply trooped along en mass, and followed the ball to wherever it was going. What mattered was just to score goals - the method of scoring was immaterial.
All the same, my team was a champion of sort. We had defeated most teams at one time or the other. But, there was this particular village team that was the worst of all. We always beat them to a sorry state. They hardly score a goal. In fact, they neither had stamina nor skill. We had always hoped they would be the one through which we'll score the proverbial eleven goals of which each of them will get a goal each when shared among them.
They knew our ambition, and didn't want to receive such a humiliating defeat so, they stopped accepting our invitation to play. But, to our surprise one day, they sent an invitation to us for a match. Everyone of us was glad to hear that. We were so happy that some of us started jubilating in advance for our victory. At least that match, we thought, will give us the opportunity to fulfill our dream of scoring the proverbial 11 goals. But, we didn't know there was a surprise waiting for us. Our opponent had what gave them the confidence to challenge us which we didn't know - a joker.
On the D-Day, we matched to the field smiling broadly in anticipation for easy victory. Among our challenger-team was a tall young man, about 17 or so years old. We were not moved initially by his presence because we thought he was their coach, having heard he was the captain of his secondary school team. We ourselves were only primary school pupils, between class 1 and 3.
We were shocked when he lined up among them as a player. We fervently protested immediately, since he was outside our age bracket. None of us was more than 8 years old. This was not an ordinary football practice but, a serious match where a team's reputation was at stake.
As we continued to agitate for the exclusion of the overaged player, our opponents refused to bulge instead, they alleged we were not only unprepared for the match but, afraid of them.
In our frustration, we threatened to boycott the match, thinking that would make them change their mind but, no way. Rather, they mocked and accused us of cowardice.
They reminded us of our rule which was that a boycott meant we had accepted defeat which gave them a 3:0 win. We couldn't bear such an insult, and almost in desperation, we decided to enter the field and put in whatever we could into the match.
The kickoff time which had been delayed for nearly an hour due to our protest eventually started with a lot of uncertainty. In the end, we won, though we could not achieve our dream of scoring 11 goals, it was 2:1, after a bitter encounter.
A number of factors contributed to our victory. One. We saw a common enemy and got united in tackling it with one spirit.
Second. Our opponents relied on an illusion that since they had a superman, they could just standby and watch him score all the goals. That was not to be because before the superman could dribble everyone of us, he had a good chance of making mistakes along the line, and so, could hardly pull through.
Third. We all followed the ball, and crowded around the superman which made it very difficulty for him to move on with the ball. Our large number around him posed a major stumbling block such that he couldn't move on easily.
Fourth. Because of lack of zeal and unskillful nature of almost all of our opponents, once the ball wasn't with their anchorman, it was with us. Even if he had passed the ball to his mates, it was as good as passing the ball to us because we would simply rush to them and dispossess them of the ball. We were more skillful and determined.
Last. As the superman tried to do the work of eleven people, he got tied, and so could not achieve much. We had a sweet surprise at a particular time when he showed signs of being tied. He got angry and started shouting at his teammates, saying they were not doing anything. This encouraged us to fight with more vigour.
Can we now answer the question? "Can a tree make a forest?"
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