My favourite cousin

3 Oct

Tuesday 1st October 2013

Charlton Athletic             1.1          Nottingham Forest

(Sordell)                                               (Reid)

Charlton are a bit like that old acquaintance who you kind of admired in a very quiet way back in the day.

They never had the coolest taste in music and didn’t make much of an impact with the girls but there was something about them that commanded a quiet kind of respect: they hovered on the fringes of the party and although they were never the centre of attention, they were there and nobody ever asked them to leave. In class, they never gave any less than their best but at the same time, never turned in anything approximating outstanding. If you passed them on the street, you’d take the time to have a chat and were quite pleased to see them, even though you’d probably wish you were with someone else. But they had their own ‘thing’ going on: they had their own sense of history, they knew who they were and quietly, but very effectively, went about their business.

And then one day, they rocked up to school and suddenly everyone liked them. Overnight, they seemed to metamorphasise from the semi-outsider to the hip young thing; albeit not totally cool though – with still that little bit of awkwardness, as if although they had made it from the hallway of the party to the kitchen, they hovered in the doorway. To be fair though, they hovered there for quite a while and seemed more than comfortable in these plush surroundings.

And then late one night, they left the party and as much as people were a little sad about it, they quickly got over it. In fact, no one really seemed to miss them. They were remembered with fondness and were held up as a model for other awkward teenagers to follow; a blueprint was established and some people clung to it firmly and spoke about them wistfully, keen to follow in their footsteps. But where were they? Where did they go? Would they ever come back?

Tales were told and truths and untruths merged. Some said they would never return whilst others claimed they were happy mixing it with the geeks: they had returned to their rightful level. The truth was that they had decided to branch out and experiment with different social circles. These flirtations were brief and they climbed back up the social ladder quickly.

And then you kept bumping into them: at almost every corner. The respect you once had lingered though and you were always pleased to meet them. After all, there was a time when you kind of wanted to be like them. Perhaps you enjoyed their company since you generally came away from such a meeting feeling good and dare you admit it, slightly superior.

If truth be told though, you always come away feeling that they go about things in the right way. They seem to have stayed young and have faith in who they are.


Of course, it’s easy to lose all that goodwill when they go and batter you on a cold Tuesday night! Still, you accept it, count yourself lucky that it wasn’t worse and move on. You are disappointed with your own showing:  you started well and it seemed like you were going to ‘click’, just like the old times. But you lost your cool yourself this time.

You’ll meet again soon enough. The respect will still be there. It’s not gone sour. All in all, they’re alright, really. You just feel that perhaps it’s your turn to be the quiet cool kid and mix it with the big ’uns. You feel your time is close but there are doubts. Big doubts.


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