Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lighthearted Tannoy Announcements

There is nothing funnier than a lighthearted tannoy announcement. Official.

"Could the owner of a robin reliant please remove their vehicle from Sloper Rd, or it will be towed away." Manna for the terrace wag.

"Happy Birthday Ronnie from the lads at Panasonic. Big Bertha from accounts sends you an extra special kiss." Ho Ho Ho.

But the one that everyone craves, the King of the tannoy announcement is the following:

"Could Simon Forthwinkle please go home immediately as your wife is giving birth." Such is the fame that this announcement would bring, such is the kudos amongst your fellow fan that is gained by such dedication to your team, that many people aspire to missing the birth of their child in order to attend a Division 3 relegation struggle.

Four years ago, I set my targets a bit higher.

My second son was due on the day that Wales played Italy in a European Qualifier. The due date itself was handy, and it gave me plenty of opportunity to bluster my way through pre-natal conversations with concerned female friends. "Of course I'm going to the match. Some things in life are just too important." They would then rush home to break the horrific news to their partners, who would jump on the chance to concur with me . "Bloody right too. I'd do the same thing in his position."

It's all bravado of course, but when my wife started having contractions on the morning of the match, I found myself really having to make the decision; it was no longer simply a hypothetical wind-up opportunity. I went to the match, but I didn't drink, which I think was an admirable concession on my part. I gave her the number of the Millennium Stadium and left her with a cup of tea. Glengettie of course.

When we went 2-1 up, everyone else was praying for the final whistle, while I was praying for the tannoy call. Just imagine it. In the dying moments of the game, there would be a "bing-bong" and the crowd would fall silent. "Would Eric the Red please go home immediately as your wife has gone into labour." I would rise amongst my cheering companions, face the crowd, who by now would have identified me as the absent Father, wave regally, and decisively and hilariously remain at the game. I would be a legend.

When I got home that night, her bags were on the front doorstep, the front door was open and she rushed into the car. She had begun serious contractions half way through the second half, but seeing the score had decided that it would have been pointless to call me. A sensible sort, my wife.

As it happens, Eric Jnr. was born the following day after several hours of discussion about whether we could call him Simon, Bellers, or Craig.

I may have failed in the tannoy attempt, but at least now it is easy to remember my son's birthday. He was born on October 17th, 2002, the day after Wales beat Italy. My first son was born on April 27, the month and year when Cardiff won the FA Cup. See? - It's easy, this Fatherhood lark.


Gary said...

It's complete bad planning on your part, Eric.
My two kids were born two years apart during the off-season and on the years where there was no European Championship or World Cup.

It's all about preparation you see!

Mei said...

Mine's 6 days late now. Might s/he be waiting for an Ozzie defeat on the 4th?