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The Ageing Footballer
Written by Ismail Hassan   

Once upon a time not too long ago, I was a footballer. Now, wait a second. That doesn't seem quite right, does it? Was I really a footballer? Like a professional one in the English Premier League or the Bundesliga? I wish I were one, but the truth is, that thought doesn't even qualify as wishful thinking. To entertain such an idea was simply outrageous and outrightly insane. Certainly I couldn't have played for Liverpool or Bayern Munich. That's quite obvious really. But I did play football that's in the form of a casual player with the campus team.  Though I wasn't a footballer in the professional sense of the word, I played regularly enough during my younger days to be considered as one, sort of. Well, not really, but I'd like to fantasize that I was to give a sense of athletic achievement that’s sorely missing in my mundane life.

I know it is difficult to picture me as a sportsman when you see me now with my greying hair, thick glasses, and slow walking pace. You may wonder how a man with such an average state of physical health was a star on the football field. The word star was intentionally added to give a bit of weight to my claim  of fame; but in all honesty a football star I was not; but I’m well-known for my exaggeration and I’m quite good at amplifying my microscopic achievements. I know it is hard to imagine that a person of my physical stature once ran up, down, diagonally, and across the field with sweat rolling down my face but, needless to say, those energy-sapping efforts were usually futile when you take into consideration my mediocre skills and poor stamina.  But as a young, energetic, and hopelessly foolish fellow, futile attempts didn’t bother me much. I simply chased, dribbled, and kicked the ball with so much commitment and vigor that my madman passion cancelled out whatever else I was lacking; so much so that I was seen as a force to be reckoned with by both my fans and foes (obviously here’s my wishful thinking at play).

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Written by Ismail Hassan   
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 03:58

If I could go back in time, say 1975, and get reunited with my now dearly departed father, he would think that his son is crazy when I tell him that 40 years into his future there is a little gadget called a smartphone that I can call anyone, anywhere, and at any time; even while being stuck in the infamous Jalan Cheras traffic congestion. He’d call my bluff because such suggestion is so absurd. I cannot blame him though because back in 1975, the most advanced home phone was one with a cord fixed to the wall and the best distance the phone can be made “mobile” was just roughly a meter as that’s about how far the springy ear/mouth piece cable can be stretched. The idea of wireless cellular phones has not yet reached his knowledge 40 years ago. Suffice to say, without such knowledge, it is hard for him to picture something so common and ordinary today.

My dear old man would also think that I am a fool when I tell him that this very same smartphone contraption can guide me in real time to almost anywhere within Malaysia and beyond. He would look at me with much disdain (and possibly a tinge of worry about the mental health of his son) when I tell him that it is no longer necessary to carry oversized and difficult to handle road maps or to rely on undependable road signs. To avoid annoying him further with more “bizarre” future technological marvels, I’d better not tell him about the internet, emails, WhatsApp, or the zillion other things that my cheap cellular phone is capable of performing, or else he might just kick me back to the future.

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