Day 72




Fussell and Kristian had a strikers clinic in the morning, so I did a goalkeeper’s clinic for Ken’s teams. The boy who it was for is called Charles. There was also 2 other kids. I could happily coach goalkeepers for 5 hours every day if they are all like Charles. He listened to literally everything I said, took it in, asked me questions if I didn’t understand.

I could physically see him improving every 10 minutes. I’m also surprised at how much I remember from my coaching course. If needs be I can always be a goalkeeper coach somewhere. Ken also took a shot against me whilst the other boys were having a drink. It was flying into the top left hand corner, I dived, tipped it onto the crossbar and it bounced over. I turned around to the boys and just shrugged. They were stunned, their faces were like this:

I finished the session, Charles and co went home. Except one lad who joined in with Kris and Fussell’s group for a big ol’ end of camp bbq. It ended with a Dads v Lads game of football. There were about 35 kids vs about 8 parents along with us 3 coaches. We won. Obviously.

A mass water fight ensued. I almost made a kid cry by squirting the gun in his face. Payback is a bitch kid, you’ll realise that in later life. Kristian threw a water balloon into the air and I decided to volley it. It felt like it broke my foot. It didn’t.

We left and went back to Ken’s house so we could get changed out of our soggy clothes into some more clothes that were soon-to-be soaked. We were about to go kayaking on the Coosa River which looks like this: NB – this isn’t me or Kristian.

The Coosa River runs through the heart of Wetumpka and every year Marcy and a lady called Leslie take the coaches kayaking down it. We followed Marcy to the kayaking site where we had to wait for an hour until we actually got to kayak. I started a giant game of Eye Spy. Kristian was too good at it, and then declared that his word was ‘so easy!!!’ Well of course it’s easy for you, you fucking thought of it!!

We had a briefing of health and safety etc and Fussell noticed that our car was lower on one side, this had happened:

The briefing man told us that many people get Coosa River tattoos. i.e. they fall out their kayak, hit a rock and then get cut up from it.

I shared a kayak with Kristian, briefing man named them the ‘divorce kayaks’ because arguments arise. He wasn’t wrong. For anyone that actually knows me, I am deathly afraid of swimming in the sea. Lagoons are fine, rivers, not so much. I just don’t trust what’s under the water. Also as a kid I got flipped over in an inflatable rubber tyre by Alan Cohen, I shant forgive you for that Alan. Anyway, Kristian wanted to go down the super ridiculously high fast rapids, I did not. Because I’m as light as helium and he’s like a freight train, between us we were only going to go one direction. So we went down the rapids. We cleared the first one, slowly the kayak tipped until we were underwater. My shoes made it impossible for me to swim properly. I was upside down underwater. I got washed up onto a rock, as did Kristian. We sat there laughing for about 3 seconds before the current dragged me underwater, my hip smashed against a rock, my feet were above my head, the lifejacket did nothing and I couldn’t swim upwards. I didn’t panic but I did drop my oar which are expensive. About 6 seconds later I was above water, clasping onto the kayak whilst shouting for Kristian to grab my oar, he told me to swim to the side with the kayak. I couldn’t because of the current. At this point I’m thinking kayaking is the most pointless hobby ever/I’m going to die whilst kayaking in a green lake, what a pants way to die.

Fussell told me that when I was underwater Leslie’s husband was ready to jump into the water to save me which is always nice to know.

Everyone panicked for me, Fussell was only worried about who was going to coach Fun in the Sun next week. The heartless swine.

3 guys saw us wreck on the rapids, they paddled upstream and helped us back into our boat. I still had both shoes on, Kristian had grabbed the paddles but had lost both his shoes. I also lost the skin on my knuckle of my middle finger. The guys said they saw us go under and said “there was only one thing you did wrong then”, we looked puzzled, “you didn’t have a beer in your hand”. They gave us a beer each. It was the first beer we had had since being in Alabama and it tasted like life.

We went down another set of rapids and teetered on the side but this time we managed to keep our balance. I swore at Kristian for directing us that way again. I think he wants me to die. We pulled up onto a little shore and had another beer with those guys. After everyone else caught us up we kayaked to the end.

A lovely flat tyre greeted us on dry land. We still had dinner with my host family to get to which we were already an hour late for. We all felt so bad. I also feel bad that I know that when they read this they’ll be horrified by my foul language. Sorry.

We turned up drenched and smelling of river, our car had the donut wheel on it, my middle finger was skinless and we were all starving. They had made the nicest bbq for us. Every meat was on this platter for us, it was gorgeous.

I went back to Ken’s with the boys because we were going fishing the next day.

I really, really, really hate kayaking.


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