I close my eyes and pretend I’m on the dance floor. I really try to get into it, throwing my arms about and stamping my feet. Ronaldo yaps at my heels, convinced I’m playing a game with him.

“This is crazy,” I mutter to myself.

But then again, the Professor has a reputation for being a bit nuts.

“What exactly is that?” he asks me, with raised brows.

“I’m dancing.” 

“That’s dancing?” the Professor says, “I thought you were having some kind of fit!”

I grin at him. It’s true – I’m not much of a dancer.

“Hang on a second,” the Professor says. 

He turns on his little radio and tunes it.

“Germany’s comprehensive defeat of Argentina has made them the favourite for the 2010 World Cup,” a voice says on the radio.

“Leave that on!” I say, but the Professor carries on tuning. Eventually he finds the station he wants.

“African jazz – now that’s real music,” the Professor says with satisfaction as the sound of trumpets and saxophones fills the air. 

I think the music sounds really old-fashioned but the Professor’s advice has worked so far, so I’ll go with it.

“You can’t dance by yourself to this kind of music,” the Professor says.

“Well I’m not dancing with you if that’s what you’re suggesting” I laugh.

“Young lady,” The Professor calls to Ayanda, who is doing a handstand on the side of the field, “would you help us?”

Ayanda flips back to her feet, shrugs and nods.

“Meet your new dance partner,” the Professor says.

I feel a wave of nervousness roll over me. I’ve never danced like this before. Ayanda will tell everybody what a pathetic dancer I am! But I know the Professor won’t take no for an answer.

At first I keep on stepping on Ayanda’s feet. But after a while I realise that if I listen to the Professor calling out the beat – “one, two, three, four”  – and move my feet in time, it all comes together. 

“Ok, good,” The Professor says after a while, “now I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with soccer?”

I grin. I’ve been so busy concentrating on the dance steps I’ve forgotten all about soccer.

“One, two, three, four…just like you’re dancing,” the Professor says, passing the ball to me, and I stop it, dribble it forward, line it up and strike it neatly home.

Aha. Rhythm.

“Now carry on dancing with Ayanda, you’re doing well,” the Professor says.

As I take Ayanda’s hand I spot Rose walking past carrying a stack of textbooks. I wave but she doesn’t wave back, she just turns and walks away.

I stop dancing. Rose and I have been getting on so well. What is she so angry about?

Image: Flykr, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0