Football Dreams - Student Handout Pre-reading 1. What did you want to be when you were growing up? 2. Have you ever dreamed of being a famous sportsperson? 3. Do you have any elderly relatives that tell you anecdotes of their younger years? a. What kind of anecdotes do they tell? Predict: You’re going to read a story about a boy, his relationship with his grandad and football. What do you think is going to happen? Read the text and match the paragraph titles to each paragraph. a. Lost in thought b. They just don’t measure up c. A kick up the backside d. Can I talk him into it? e. Efforts come to fruition 1. ………………………………………….. My grandad had always seen himself as something of a football manager. He was always extolling the virtues of this or that long forgotten footballer or ranting and raving about how soft the current generation of pampered prima donnas were. It was difficult to find a modern player he deemed worthy of living up to his memories of the great icons of the past. 2. ………………………………………….. His little home office was replete with mementoes of his all too short professional playing career, photos, shirts and dusty old memories. Sometimes I’d walk into the office to ask him something and find him so wrapped up in his memories that it was almost impossible to snap him out of it. There he sat, staring off into space with a gap-toothed grin on his face. “I was in contention for a place in the Manchester United academy I’ll have you know.” went the story whenever he got a little tipsy, the whole family would join in for the next part: “This close, this close I was.” 3. ………………………………………….. So when my school football coach was struck down with heart trouble, the first thought that popped into my head was of grandad. I thought he would jump at the chance but it took me a few days to talk him into it. I started by dropping hints over dinner every time he came over, then I decided to cut to the chase and ask him outright. Despite his grumblings about being too long in the tooth, the first training session of the new season came around and there he was on the touchline in a brand new tracksuit barking orders from the sidelines. 4. ………………………………………….. Now the last thing I expected was any kind of special treatment but nothing had prepared me for what happened on the first match day. Without so much as a “sorry kid”, he took me aside and told me I was being unceremoniously dropped from the team. I was pretty shell-shocked to be honest and looked on from the sidelines forlornly as our team romped home to a 5-0 win. The poor opposition were no match for grandad’s well-oiled machine. 5. ………………………………………….. Looking back now with hindsight, I have to admit that it was a stroke of genius on grandad’s part, because guess who was first on to the pitch at training the following week? That’s right, yours truly, turns out I respond well to tough love! Over the next few weeks I really busted a gut to get back in grandad’s good books. It was the business end of the season and the games were coming thick and fast, so when our star striker came down with a cold on Wednesday night, I got the nod from the gaffer and started up front. I fluffed an early chance, maybe I was too eager to please, and grandad was on my back pretty quickly. But I soon settled into the game and got in the zone. I ended up scoring the perfect hattrick, left, right, header and walked off with the match ball. As I was mobbed by my teammates at the final whistle, I glanced over at grandad, looking for his approval, and caught a glimpse of that familiar grin and the glassy, far-away look in his eyes, broken only by an almost imperceptible wink…. Now look at the underlined expressions. Discuss their meaning with your partner. Memory Test: Can you remember the missing words? My grandad had always seen himself ….. something of a football manager. He was always extolling the v……. of this or that long forgotten footballer or r……. and r……. about how soft the current generation of pampered p…… donnas were. It was difficult to find a modern player he deemed worthy ….. living ….. to his memories of the great icons of the past. His little home office was replete …… mementoes of his all too short professional playing career, photos, shirts and dusty old memories. Sometimes I’d walk into the office to ask him something and find him so wrapped ….. in his memories that it was almost impossible to snap him …… of it. There he sat, staring off into …….. with a gaptoothed grin on his

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