Grier House of Our Time

Prior to our time (1965) Grier House had the greatest number I of rascally boys which earned us the notorious nickname of Grier Mugs. DJ Bullock, the Principal decided to put the very small boys in Grier House where the average height in Grier was 4 feet as against other Houses that had boys who were big enough to husband wives. The move as laudable as it was, of course reduced rascality to the barest minimum but equally had serious effects on our performance on the field of sports. As soon as the big boys left Grier in 1966 we were left with Lilliputians, no trophies adorned our visitors Room any more. Grier House became a laggard on the field of sports.
In 1965, we were on top of many sports, we won Junior Soccer Senior Soccer, both Junior and Senior Relay trophies, Junior and Senior table tennis trophies. In 1966, we managed to win the Athletics Shield and many more.

There was an event in 1965 that will remain evergreen in the memories of Carr House and Grier House boys. This was the Junior soccer match. Grier House qualified by beating Field House our next door neighbour who were not very known for football but very good in hockey where each year at least seven of their boys would be in the School Team. Carr House made a mince meat of Swanston House, a next door neighbour to Car House too in the Semi final. The final match was now between Grier & Carr. In 1965, Carr House had almost all the Boys representing the School in Mosquito Team therefore it was assumed that whatever happened, they would bear Grier House hands down.

Some even came with baskets with which Grier would pack goals home. They paraded boys like Niyi Badmus, who had been playing for the School team from his first year in Government College. There were others like Adisa Salami (Gedu) who became Disco in UCH Ibadan; others were Nat Oshibodu, renowned for his remarkable head control of the ball, a talent he shared with the famous Garrincha of Brazil (Joy of the People) and regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. They also had Obioha, smallish with remarkable ball control and beautiful dribbling skills. Also in the team was my late friend Victor Amusan, as well as Muyiwa Koya, Jerry Gold and Biodun Jolaoso our current National Chairman. Deen Babyal manned the goal.

Grier House paraded fewer stars like Sofeso, Olubajo (Bazuaye), Lamidi and Oyelese. The centre reference was no other than Mr Adeoti (History Master) and a no nonsense teacher. He became a Lawyer before He died in the 70s. At halftime, score line was one goal aside while on resumption the game became more tense because of pressure on Carr House boys who had thought it was going to be a feast of goals. Taiwo Aderemi, who was the smallest and probably the youngest in the Grier House team was carried out of the pitch under 20 minutes after a rough tackling by late Victor Amusan apparently telling Towo that it's a game for men not for boys. I was on the reserve bench. Grier House Boys cheered the most, led by cheerleader Jefficila Adegbite (now late) chanting and singing to cheer the team. Any late comer to the arena would in fact think Grier House was leading. The entire second half was played on Grier's half with explosive shorts coming from all angles but Osita Anerobi stood between Carr House and the coveted trophy. He punched and dived, making breathtaking and almost unbelievable saves as if he had eight arms to save almost every shot at goal. His feat on this day brought back fond memories of legend Lev Yashin, the Soviet Russian football goalkeeper considered by many to be the greatest keeper in the history of the game, having saved more than 150 penalty kicks and who in 1963 won the Ballon d'Or, the only Goalie ever to receive the award.

With a few minutes left to the end of the game, came the miracle of Apata Ganga. Unlike the miracle of Damman 1989, where the Flying Eagles were trailing by 4-0 with few minutes to the end and Nigeria fought back to equalize 4-4 in the space of 30 minutes, probably the greatest come back in the history of World football till date, ours was a case of "it is not over until it is over."

A powerful shot taken outside Grier's eighteen by the team Captain Sofeso, not aimed at any particular place but to ward off the ferocious attacks from Carr House saw the ball deflected into the opponent's net. The cheer was thunderous. A few moments left in the match. This was the final. Victory was in sight for Grier House. And then the whistle went signaling the end of the match. Sofeso was carried shoulder high. Car House giants were distraught. It was unbelievable.

Prep that evening in Grier House was noisy as we were still basking in the euphoria of the victory. It was one victory we hardly expected, but well deserved. It was also a victory to savour for a long time, as we won no major tournament for the next few years.

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