ow that I'm a famous writer and performance poet, I've decided I had better start being more interested in football. It's one of the rules. You have to be able to write those blurbs saying "when he isn't writing manky, mingin verse for children, Gregor Steele relaxes by watching Livingston Football Club".
Sounds down to earth, don't you see? Folk read that and realise you're a good bloke, not some arty-farty jessie.
In truth, I have been drawn to football by my daughter and son. Their maternal grandfather is a season ticket holder for the aforementioned West Lothian club. He takes them along to games now and then and had intended to go to a pre-season friendly against Newcastle with them in late July. In the event, he couldn't, so I volunteered to take his place and took along an assorted quartet of nieces and nephews as well as my own two.
Livingston won 3-2, having come from two goals down. By goal three, I was out of my seat with the rest of them.
Some days later, I began to doodle with ideas. The school where I work wants to move away from the "one person who wants to teach - 20 or 30 who don't want to learn" classroom dynamic. Everyone should be there with a shared purpose of learning. I wondered whether I could contribute to this ethos by rebranding the physics department as the physics learning team.
The team would comprise not just staff but also the pupils. We could start each season with a team photo. The teachers would be managers or trainers - thoughtful Sven types, not boot-blootering Fergusons. During lessons, ideas would be kicked around from pupil to pupil with me in there directing play, making sure that everything was ultimately heading in the right direction.
Each child would be responsible for their own development as a player and for the progression of the class towards the goal of understanding physics.
Examinations would be seen as major tournaments to prepare for but not to fear.
The cynics will have a field day talking of kids taking dives, being red-carded and sent off. Wise guys will ask whether the school uniform will change every year. Will it carry sponsorship logos from NTL or Intelligent Finance? Will the canteen give out free oranges at intervals? (Hang on, isn't that happening already?) They may scoff, but I maintain the idea has merit. Which - ahem - is more than can be said about the performance of the Livingston team against Celtic the day before I wrote this.
Gregor Steele thinks he may have converted a couple of blue-nosed nephews.