Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Keith Morris for 16th August

Corporate Communications Manager for regional media group Archant
Editor of /
Trustee of Norwich Vineyard Church

Molehills on the football pitch of life

I bet English World Cup Finals referee Howard Webb, or his NoKeithRafts1rfolk assistant Darren Cann, did not have to spend 20 minutes either filling in rabbit holes or kicking flat molehills in order to get the pitch ready for the World Cup Final in Johannesburg’s Soccer City last month.
This is how I have spent most Wednesday evenings during the summer for the past nine years preparing a small football pitch for an impromptu game of soccer at the village youth club night, which I have run since we moved to the area.
We have two set of goalposts, but only one net, and the quality of the refereeing (usually from me) would give FIFA cause for grave concern.
But whenever the 20 or so boys bowl up for club and I ask them what they want to do, football is always the answer. They range in age from 8 to 18 but they somehow all know just how hard each challenge can be, according to the size of their opponent, and what they can get away with from the often lenient officials.
It seems to me that the thing they like the most, is simply that there is an adult who is prepared to have a kick-about with them. If we can add a net, a whistle, a home-made yellow card and a pitch which is not too dangerous to run on, to add to the occasion, then so much the better.
I have just stepped down from my role as club chairman, whicDove righth mostly involves lots of committee meetings, advertising for youth workers, red tape, parental forms, risk assessments and such like. I don’t enjoy any of this stuff, but if it means I can spend an hour and a half every week kicking around a football, or playing table tennis or badminton, with a load of young people with too much energy to spare, then so be it - it was worth every minute.
Now my two children are growing up fast, one off to medical school this year, the other to university hopefully next, I feel I have served my time. Apart from loving football, the reason I have spent all those many hours running the club is because of my Christian faith, which I believe gives me an imperative to contribute positively to any community of which I am a part.
I have only spoken of my faith to any youngster during those nine years if I have been asked directly, which does not happen very often. But I believe that actions speak louder than words almost every time - especially on the football pitch of life.
Keith Morris is publisher of the Christian community website