October 5th, 2001



"I am not going to be nice again, it doesn't bring you anywhere in life". Bitter words, especially coming from one of my students. I haven't seen him smile yet. "My mother was the nicest person in the world, it got her nowhere", is the explanation for his behaviour. It must not be easy to have lost all faith in life before you're even twenty years old. The first two weeks of the year he was absent. Apparently he had been in a fight and couldn't come. A serious fight that must have been. Charges are being held still. But if you look at him, you couldn't imagine him as a fighter. According to another teacher who knows him a bit better, is his computer the only one to be in contact with him.

He hopes to become a management assistant someday. Therefore he has the same classes as the girls who want to be a secretary when they grow up. The girls make fun of him. It can't be easy, one boy in a class with 20 girls. Certainly at that age. But he doesn't talk voluntarily. He ignores all the girls in his class, even when they try to get in touch. At times like that he seems nearly autistic. To me he says a few words when I ask him something. In the meantime he does what he has to do and that's it. Within a month he has overtaken the rest of the class in my subject. When I do explain some things, he never asks a question. When I specifically ask him if he understood, he just nods. When during other classes I ask him if he needs help, he shakes his head. Even though it is forbidden to use your walkman/Discman during classes, for him I make an exception. Somehow I don't feel it necessary to explain him what the rules are for.

His parents are divorced off course, a lot of the problems in that particular class can be explained by just looking at the family situation of the kids, he is no exception to that rule. Apparently he never sees his dad again. All of this information is confidential by the way, but I assume he remains anonymous enough, should he ever bump into this entry, there are no lies here. His name hasn't been mentioned once, in case you hadn't noticed yet.

At the end of the year he could have a diploma, he will have to apply. He might find a job. But I can't recall ever having seen e boy as bitter as him. Even teachers twice my age agree on that. He has been offered psychiatric help by school, something that doesn't happen very soon in my country. He refused. There is no way to get into his head. I feel sorry, but know I can't do anything.
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    Hans Dorrestijn - Het kerkhof bij nacht
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Hard Gras 23 (01-085)

The Euro 2000 special from the Football quarterly. Some interesting stories, some superfluous. I could have done with a summary of all the European championships. The poetry isn't exactly brilliant either this time. But the background story on Edgar Davids is very interesting, the author, Chris Ruesink, looking for the roots, the playgrounds in Amsterdam Noord. His old school teacher, the other boys who played on the street with him, his first club, not completely coincidentally also the first club of Kluivert. Not one word could have been left out, the story helps you understand a bit of the psyche of the best Dutch player at the moment. Another highlight is the story about Hagi, the Romanian midfieldstar. Who needs running, if you can walk everything and still shine on the field. Stories on Matthaus (by Simon Kuper), Beckham (Jimmy Burns) and Raul (Edwin Winkels) complete the issue. Not their best issue, but for once I can understand that they did not have a choice, ignoring the Euro 2000 tournament, held in this country, wasn't possible. I didn't see any of the usual previews and I don't think I have missed anything.
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    Jarabe de Palo - La flaca