IN the beginning there were only sticks and balls. And God decreed the sticks were called camans and said let there be shinty, but not on the sabbath. But lo, Kingussie were rubbish with their camans, being a place of but a few score men, and beasts like to be rustled by knaves and anyway it looked like a bit of a rough game. But then Ian Ross, he of the Rosses of that place, made an oath to instruct the young men in being fleet of foot and hand so that other men would look upon them when they held their camans and be afraid. And this Ross took to him a wife, Mrs Ross, and they did bring forth a son, Ronald, some time in the 1970s, ’75 to be precise.
And when Ronald, son of Ian, came to be a man, Kingussie had by then become feared and were making light work of Fort William and Oban and Newtonmore and the other team that plays shinty. But what they lacked was a man hewn of the substance of his maker, like Eric Cantona, and so Ronald spake forth and said let me show you all how it’s done, but probably in Gaelic.
And Ronald took his caman and scored more goals by himself for Kingussie than the other teams could score among them, and all who beheld him said he was the Ronaldo of the Glens. And he did it with a smile around his face, and was virtuous and never took strong drink before games and was an example even to the kiddies, who saw that he valued health and safety by wearing a helmet and did follow suit sharpish.
And then after many years of scoring goals at shinty, Ross did reach his 1000th goal, equalling the feats of the great Romario, but in fact bettering them because some of Romario’s goals were in pub games. And Hugh Dan McLennan, verily the Moses of shinty, did call it a staggering achievement for Scotland, even though shinty does not exist outside of Scotland. And Alex Salmond threatened to put it on television instead of the cricket. But Ross did shrug and put his helmet on and score some more goals.
This article appeared in the Sunday Herald