The report of Malta’s international football match against Austria (February 24) stimulated memories that I never shall forget.
I was 27 years old then, three years younger than Victor Scerri. In fact, this letter concerns a ‘clash’ with him. It might have slipped out of his mind. The incident, or should I say accident, is still as green as Floriana’s football jerseys.
The story goes back to younger days. Both Victor and myself were playing second division football for Sliema and Floriana respectively. Our enthusiastic rivalry was as intense as that of the senior sides.
I have no recollection of the date, nor of the final score. The venue was certainly Memè’s football stadium. The game is still lucid in my mind’s eye though wrinkled with age and aged with the lapse of time. I remember Victor stretching fully on the ground across the goalposts after I crashed into him. We both came out unscathed, at least, so we thought.
That afternoon news spread that Victor was in hospital. Some colleagues and I paid him a visit. I recall sitting on the edge of his bed almost sick with pain. That night the pain grew worse. The doctor diagnosed that I had injured my wrist. My hand and arm were covered in plaster.
My wrist took weeks to heal. It stopped me from playing football but not from swimming. My friend, Paul Bonnet – future international referee – reminded me how I swam with my right hand in the air.
Recently, we heard that Victor has retired to a rest home. That means another surprise visit after the lapse of over 65 years. Where friendship is concerned, memories and reminisces are kept alive even in geriatric minds.
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