Level Three. Is this a car or a coach?

Level Three – Is this a car or a coach?

By Michelle Lloyd.

New One and R V were keen members of their football team.  The Junior football league table indicated that their team had done well of late, their climbing position to no. 1 team meant that they had seen a reward for all their hard work.  Achievement was a response to effort and practice, this was the mantra of the team and New One had taken it to heart.

He was out with his prepared football kit, boots done up and a team spirit in mind before every practice.  He was never late, New One’s mum would always get him to his team practice in time and that was until the day she did a job swap with dad and things went as wrong as could be…

Four fifteen was the time that New One had to be on the pitch.  At three forty five his mum would have him in the car and even though the field where they practiced was not far New One would be dropped off early so that he could have a chat with his friends before the sporty session would start.

At three forty five New One should have been belted into the car seat and on his way to the practice field but on this day, dad’s rare football driving duty saw them racing about trying to locate the lost car keys.  At three fifty one exactly the pair had made it to the car only to find dad had lost his to do list that mum had given him with strict instructions for what needed doing before she got home.  A mad scramble and dash over the drive that nearly saw dad dive bomb into the overgrown front garden was why New One was sat sighing in the car at three fifty five and not already half way to the pitch.

Finally dad had them on the road and on the way to the football practice that New One could not wait to get to and at three fifty nine they had enough time to make it.  Just!  New One had closed his eyes and he could see himself mid field shooting to a member of his team, probably R V, as they had a well practiced goal scoring system.  He could see himself being a part of all the action, he could practically breathe in the scent of the freshly cut grass and that was when the car started to slow down…

New One opened his eyes with a dread in his heart and saw that his dad was winding the window down to talk to someone that he had seen on the pavement.  No…no…no, this could not be happening thought New One to himself.  He heard his dad saying a hello, good afternoon to Mr Next Door But One and then he saw the man himself opening the passenger door and getting in.  New One’s mouth was aghast and he was wondering what was going on, when he heard his dad say that of course they could give him a lift to the hairdresser so that he could wait for his wife, that would be no problem as it was on their way.

New One was starting to worry as he listened to the facts of the situation that had seen Mr Next Door But One going off on an errand that had meant walking back to the hairdresser was too far for him, that was all well and good thought New One but with one eye on the clock he had to ask himself if he was going to make it to his football practice on time?  The drive was taking them a bit out of their way and New One had just started to calm down and resolve himself to the extra passenger situation when the car started to slow down again.  New One’s heart almost stopped as he saw Peter the Painter, his dad’s friend, walk up to the side window and ask if he could have a lift to the do it yourself shop.  New One’s dad said fine and in came Peter the Painter.  So, with Mr Next Door But One firmly sat in the passenger seat and Peter the Painter sat beside New One in the back, everyone was off with a smile apart from New One who had run out of patience, he was quickly imagining the scene as he had to arrive late on the field and he was far from happy about it.

At four ten New One was deep breathing and Peter the Painter was giving him funny looks, asking if he was ok.  No, he was certainly not ok but New One did not want to be rude.  He had answered politely about the football practice kit he had on, he had talked about the team and how they had done at a recent match and now he actually wanted to be on the field with that team that they had all been talking about.  Instead the car seemed to be going ever so slowly and then they came to a halt at the lights.  Peter the Painter looked calm, Mr Next Door But One even looked happy but New One did not trust the situation as he was worried that something else may delay them further.  They could not have anymore interruptions on their journey thought New One to himself and that was when…laden down with boxes his school teacher tapped on the window.

New One was hyperventilating and fighting for breath at four thirteen and he did not think it was possible to get to football practice at all with his dad at the wheel.  They had enough people it seemed to New One to fill a coach not a car.  He was getting questions from all of the passengers and to make matters worse all anyone wanted to talk about was football.  The one subject that New One was having difficulty with at that time.  Peter the Painter had joked about New One doing better than his favourite team, Mr Next Door But One thought that football had altered a lot as a game since his day and his teacher from school was keen to discuss who the current trainer from the team was and did she know him from school or not.  New One did not know, he did not care, he had lost all reason and that was why he found himself shouting out to his dad his question.  Is this a car or a coach?  He then told them all that he had never been late for a football practice, like EVER and that he was not able to control himself anymore.  Everyone was silent at the outburst.  Even New One felt bad but he was desperate and it had showed.  After a few minutes New One apologised, he told the coach full car all about R V his friend who would be waiting for him and how he did not want to disappoint his team.  Mr Next Door But One claimed he felt bad about it all, his teacher set about looking for a short cut and Peter the Painter started to give directions to New One’s dad for a route that would get them there in no time.

New One found that everyone had the same aim as him and the last part of the journey seemed far less stressful.  He quickly saw that by just having talked about his problem, everyone was unified in their ultimate goal.  New One remembered his dad’s advice to talk out his problems and not to keep them in.  Maybe if he had talked about his concerns to his dad, he wouldn’t have had his outburst.  New One made a promise to himself to talk about things instead of worry about them.  It was rather like when he played with his team at a football match, if no one talked about their plan of action then none of the members would know what to do but when they had a clear strategy in mind they almost always won the match.

New One’s thoughts went to the actual team practice he had to attend and everyone in the car looked at dad to see if they could, in fact, get New One to the practice in time.  In the end, he was late, but only for the warm up and when New One saw the smile of relief on his friend R V’s face it made all the rushing worth while.  Mr Next Door But One did get to the hairdresser to get his wife and dad continued on to get all the passengers to their correct destination, even if for New One it had been a bit late.  Mum and dad agreed not to do another job swap in a hurry and for New One he learnt to talk out his problems, it seemed to be a useful tip to know.