Tuesday 24 April 2018

Diary of a school teacher: I'll support 'Homework Rovers' forever...for this season anyway

E Grade

Every year my colleague Finnegan and I battle it out in the official English Premier League fantasy football league.

With an imaginary budget of £1m we select a squad of 15 real-life players and win points according to how our selection performs in the real English Premier League.

At last week's staff meeting, Finnegan waves his iPhone under my nose.

"It's that time of the year," he whispers, "you have to register your team!"

Perfect opportunity -- there's none of that flickery, unreliable Wi-Fi that I pay for through the nose at home, and Finnegan has the fantasy football website up and ready for me, displaying his selection and the name of his team: 'Eleven of The Best'.

After I have picked my squad and given it a name -- I go for 'Homework Rovers' -- we enter the most useless selection of players that we can muster from the entire English Premier League and give it the name 'Big Boy FC' and register it to rugby-only fan Kurt Moobs.

That way, neither of us will come last in the mini league that we're setting up with four of the other guys on the staff -- all of them football-mad and highly competitive.

This passes a whole hour of the turgid debriefing session and we both leave the hall feeling that we have achieved something.

Once classes start back, I set about gathering information about the in-form players in the Premier League.

Every year, Finnegan wins -- but this year is going to different.

As soon as I get into the next class, I ask brainy pupil Dan Keaveny for a few pointers, but like a lot of exceptionally bright kids he hates sport, so no luck there.

Then I remember seeing Dean O'Thugarty and a friend invading the pitch at the RDS and being dragged off by stewards during the Ireland match against Algeria last June and, sure enough, he gives me the name of a reliable defender playing for a weak team but who scores the odd goal.

He's delighted to have been able to show me that he actually does know something for the first time in five years and I make a cheap signing. But the pressure is on!


Allowed to make one signing online a week without losing points and with the deadline at noon, I've only got five minutes to get to a computer!

Problem is what do I do with the 30 kids sitting there in front of me waiting for me to teach them?

I actually play with the notion of setting off the fire alarm so I can make a dash for it, but just then Finnegan passes by in the corridor. I run for the door and drag him in.

"Got to make a transfer," I gasp, "mind this lot." I slip the chain and I'm on my way, heading for the IT room.

Now I can say that I'm set up for the rest of the school year.

May the best man win!

Irish Independent

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