Following our midterm exams, an announcement was made for interested classes to come and get the form for the inter-class football competition.
For the first time in my school history, the ladies will be having a competition of their own too. When the news broke, the whole school went haywire.
Most of the boys were laughing at the girls, wondering how they were going to fare on the pitch.
Ruth being the class captain was responsible for coordinating the class’s effort. I, her, and Naomi had discussed it extensively. Apparently, Naomi considered herself to be a baller.
She had a great deal of confidence in her footballing skills and swore she could rival any guy. Remembering how she had floored my nemesis with a punch, I wasn’t as motivated to laugh at her claims.
Just before break time, Ruth addressed the class. As soon as she started talking, her deputy class captain, Olu, interrupted her.
Olu insisted that as the highest-ranking guy in the class, he would be coordinating the class’s effort. Ruth was pissed.
Some of Olu’s friends were backing him. Soon enough, the class was rowdy. Ruth eventually acquiesced to their request.
Olu asked all the guys interested in joining the team to sign up on a paper he passed out. When Olu made to pass out another paper for the ladies’ team, Naomi went off her handle. She was having none of it.
Again the class got rowdy, but this time, all the ladies were supportive of Naomi. There was no way Olu was going to have his way.
Eventually, Olu made a joke that he was just trying to prevent them from running around like headless chickens. He said girls cannot be ballers. That what will they chest the ball with? And he looked forward to laughing at them when they are left clutching their boobs after running. This miffed most of the ladies. It took a lot of guys forcibly taking Olu out of the class to prevent him from being lynched.
On Monday, classes were put on hold and the inter-class competition began. It was to last a full week.
Since it wasn’t the turn of my class ladies to play, Naomi took them for a training session. As a good friend, I was there giving the little support I could. Ruth and I were on the sideline chitchatting.
Out of the blue, Olu and a bunch of guys suddenly showed up requested that the girls ejected themselves from the pitch.
The girls insisted they were going nowhere. It began to get rowdy and soon, a large number of students were watching them.
A guy hit the ball out of Naomi’s hand. She tried to get it back and he ran off with it, kicking it away. About four of the guys quickly spread around him, asking him to pass to them. Naomi was stuck between them.
The rest of the ladies were busy complaining and threatening to report to the teachers, meanwhile, Naomi was trying to retrieve the ball. Olu got the ball and decided to showboat.
Rather than passing the ball to someone else as soon as there was an opening, he opted to disgrace Naomi by dribbling her.
As Naomi was running towards him, he made to faint a pass to someone else and then return the ball in the other direction. Naomi saw through him and strongly tackled him. He fell over and she recovered the ball.
Naomi walked away with the ball at her feet and spontaneously, a lot of the ladies started clapping for her. Some of the spectators did join in clapping for her.
Olu was not going to let anyone get the shine off him. A lady for that matter.
In blinded fury, Olu stood up and began running after Naomi. He was coming at her from behind and believed she couldn’t see him.
As he got close, he took a wide kick at her, aiming to kick both her leg and the ball. Deftly, Naomi slipped the ball between the inrushing Olu’s legs. Thereby nutmegging him.
You could hear people gasp loudly. Olu stopped right in front of her. He turned around and tried to mark her. Naomi did a step over and some of the guys started giggling.
In a flash of brilliance, Naomi ran at Olu, she then attempted one of Jay-Jay Okocha’s trademark snake-bite on him. As she went left and then cut right, she lost him.
Realizing that she was about to beat him, Olu stretched out his hands to grab her, but she was faster than him.
There he was on the pitch, face planted in the sand. It had happened. Naomi had dribbled Olu and left him eating sand.
This time, there was not a single person not clapping and laughing.
As Olu stood up to leave, the front of his shirt and shorts were stained. The same guys who had come with him to support him were now the ones laughing at him.
I was proud of Naomi. The remaining ladies had surrounded her and were singing her praise as they carried her up.
Ruth and I quickly ran down to her side and they both hugged excitedly. They were immediately recapping what just happened. I was certain Olu was never going to be able to shake this incident off.
He would be mocked and ridiculed for the rest of his secondary school days. I do not pity him though.
Naomi had proven to everyone that indeed ladies could be ballers too. She would go on to lead our class to the final of the competition, where they lost to an SSS3 class.
Naomi would end up being named the assistant captain of our school’s ladies’ football team. When we got to SSS2 and the first captain had graduated, she was named captain, which she held until she graduated.
Meanwhile, the guys’ team was knocked out at the first match. They bought a late form and got knocked out right again. Apparently, they weren’t ballers.