By Hooshyar F. Naraghi
October 16, 2003
The following story
is about playing soccer in the the middle of the
streets of Tehran. The original text was written in Persian
for a high school composition class in 1971 in Iran. Amjadieh
is the name of the oldest football stadium in the heart of
Tehran. It is no longer in active use because most
soccer games are now held in the 100,000-seat Azadi
(Liberty) Stadium. Here's part 2:
We were generally happy and content despite the
minor limitations of our makeshift football field. The games
continued day in and day out, until one day, in the middle of
the school year, we learned that our superintendent was replaced
by a certain Mr. Tabrizi.
Mr. Tabrizi changed the general mood in our school
from the first day he took over. He was an extremely overbearing
figure. He started flexing his muscle by banning our football
games on school premises altogether. This of course meant
that balls were not to be permitted inside the school.
established various disciplinary actions against those who dared
to disobey his orders. His argument for this drastic measure
was the fact that he considered football a dangerous sport, likely
to cause injuries. He feared that we might fall and hurt ourselves.
Of course the real source of his fear was potential
law suits that might result by such injuries, involving the school
the Ministry of Education. It was ironic that Mr. Tabrizi did
not consider basketball and volleyball dangerous sports. In fact,
he was in
favor of them and
would constantly encourage students to enjoy them.
never forget Mr. Tabrizi's arrival at our school.
That day started with our usual early morning game. It was only
a few minutes later that a man in a well-cut three-piece suit
and a tasteful tie arrived.
His hair was glued to his scalp with
so much brillantine oil that it shone even regardless of the
weak early winter sun. He seemed to be somewhere in his early
forties. He was tall and commanding figure with broad shoulders.
After having shot a glance toward us, the unknown man began
inspecting the school compound as well as the main building.
That particular day, I happened to be playing
in the defense position. In fact our team was ahead in the game.
unknown to myself, my eyes were fixed on the stranger and I was
following his every move. I guessed him to be the father of one
of the students who had the misfortune of having his father summoned
by the principal, in order to discuss poor grades or discipline
I was engrossed in those thoughts, when I realized
the man standing by the teachers' lounge and staring intensely
at our game. My unsuspecting and naive mind interpreted that
as a sign of envy. Too bad that he could not join us. Perhaps
his darting eyes suggested a desire to play too.
I was busy dissecting
the newcomer when I suddenly came face-to-face with a player
from the other team. The ball had landed right
in front of me! I reacted quickly by kicking the ball away from
him. But since it was not a strong enough kick, it shot the ball
toward the teachers' lounge. I ran after the ball while
being tailed by the opponent.
I must have been too intent on protecting the
ball from my opponent, to have noticed that it had landed right
in the middle of the
newcomer's feet. Both my opponent and myself were furiously engaged
in kicking the ball. With our heads bent, we were attacking the
poor ball with non-stop kicks so intently, that we were unaware
of the fact that the man's feet were being kicked in the process
Finally, the ball rolled to another direction.
I ran eagerly after it. I noticed I could not move. It seemed
being pulled by an invisible force! My body was positioned for
running, my feet firmly planted on the ground ready for a take-off.
But what was holding me? I could not move!
This strange sensation was incomprehensible to me until a few
seconds later, I was able to hear a voice from behind. "Hold
on you miserable animal! What's the rush? You're behaving like
a mad cow?"
I turned my head back. I came to the shocking
realization that the sweater I was wearing was being pulled from
the back by this
newly-arrived person. I felt like a dog on a leash. The man kept
my collar firmly in his grip. He would not let go of me. The
verbal abuse was not over either. "Your insolence knows
no boundaries. You're so shameless, you're not only playing in
front of the school superintendent, but also kicking him in the
I could understand his anger and frustration at
being kicked, but why was he picking on me? Why was I singled
out? He had been
watching our game since early morning. He knew I was not the
To make the long story short, I spent that day "bonding" with
our new superintendent. The bonding ceremony consisted, but was
not limited to, a few right and left slaps by him, followed by
a long and painful sermon by the principal. The latter preferred
playing the "good cop" and sent me to class shortly
afterwards >>> Part
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