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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Keitha Keyes

Yellow Card, Red Card

The only thing I don’t like about teaching at the Intensive English Centre is sport afternoon. It’s not too bad if you are allocated a girls’ group but it’s very stressful if you have to take charge of a group of teenage refugee boys high on testosterone.

Soccer is the most popular sport. All you need is a ball and two pairs of shoes for goal markers. And a referee. I’m not confident in the rules of soccer so I ask for a volunteer to be referee. I choose between several enthusiastic boys, give him a whistle and the game begins.

It is only minutes into the game when the referee’s decision is heatedly disputed. I say that it’s a rule that the ref’s decision is final. After another argument with the players the referee decides he’s had enough. None of the other boys volunteer to take his place.

far away
from their homelands
these boys
promised a new start
— all they want is justice