October 2007: Magic football pigeon

roque1_2Saturday was David’s birthday and he had requested that I accompany him to the football. It wasn’t so much that he wanted my company, it was more that he didn’t want to be a billy-no-mates on his birthday. So after a lovely lunch with the in-laws (no, really), they took Harry home with them and me and D headed off to Ewood Park.

It was a while since I’d been on t’match (as they say round these parts) and it was good to be back, even if there were quite a few players I didn’t recognise. I did however recognise Roque Santa Cruz pictured because … well, look at him.

Anyway, I got myself a hot chocolate and we settled in. It was Rovers v Reading and, part way through the first half, a white pigeon landed on the pitch. Well, I say it was a white pigeon, David reckoned it was a dove. A dove! I ask you. Anyway, the pigeon hopped about and pecked, seemingly unaware that 22 men were within stomping distance.

After a few minutes it flew up near the goal and Rovers scored. Once the celebrations were over, the pigeon returned to the pitch and Rovers scored again. I missed that goal because I was looking at the pigeon. Well, clearly this was no ordinary pigeon! Another flutter in the region of the net and Rovers scored again. “It’s the pigeon,” I told David. “Hmm,” he said.

Just before half time, one of the Rovers players took a swing at the pigeon. “Ah, that’s it now,” I said. “He’s jinxed it. You can’t take a swing at a magic pigeon.” A bit later, I added, “See, they scored three goals and then he took a swing at it and they haven’t scored since. The facts speak for themselves.” “You’re an idiot,” said David.

The second half kicked off. “Where’s the pigeon?” David asked. It was still up the other end which was now, of course, the goal Rovers were defending. “It’d better get down this end,” David said. See? He’d started to believe in the power of the pigeon. And then Reading scored. “Ha!” I said. And then Rovers got a penalty. “Ha!” David said.

And yet, “Where’s the pigeon?” he asked me every five minutes. I had become pigeon monitor. Rovers were defending and the pigeon fluttered up near the goal mouth. “The pigeon’s just fluttered up,” I said. “Reading are going to score now.” They scored. “See.” I said. We watched the pigeon until the final whistle. It ended 4-2. I enjoyed it immensely. It’s not every day you get to see a magic goal-scoring pigeon.

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