Vignette 2: Butterflies

A rectangular, brown road sign for Old Leaf Playing Fields looms large at the roadside. Gallin vigilantly pulls the car to the left, presses softly on the brake peddle and indicates to turn into the car park. The butterflies, which have occupied his stomach since the moment he woke, begin to flutter just a little more intensely.
‘How will the teams behave? And the spectators for that matter? Ah, whatever! Just go with it, get that first incident dealt with and for **** sake get the big decisions right!’ Gallin muses over the game ahead with an air of futility for no game had ever been predictable. ‘You need to gauge their expectations, book ‘em if you need to, but gauge the game and do what you do.’
Positive self-talk. Gallin knew it was a cliché and sometimes even cringed at his own use of it, but nonetheless indulged himself before every match. He couldn’t help it. He pulls his car into one of many available spaces in the gravel car park, turns off the engine and twists the rear-view mirror so that he can see his deliberate resolute stare.
‘You’ve got nothing to worry about. Think about last week; you bossed the game, you had the respect of the players, they believed in your decision making. You’ve got the club marks and you’ve been getting good feedback from observers. Just do your normal thing.’ Gallin affords himself a slight sneered smile in the mirror. It’s good advice but ultimately pointless. He’d played this game many times before and knew the butterflies would go in time, but not as a result of this talk. Anyway, butterflies are good.

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A&H International