The last time I played football must have been April, ish.
At the time, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Body wasn’t keeping up with brain to an extent that it had never done before and that frustrated the hell out of me. There’s nothing worse than knowing what you want to do and knowing that you used to be able to do it but can’t anymore.
My last game was on a terrible pitch. Every time I pushed off one foot to change direction my back twinged which was about the only time when body and brain agreed – I should stop.
The season ended, my team folded and the thought of playing again didn’t really cross my mind until yesterday when a friend asked why I didn’t go back to playing with a group of them on a Wednesday evening. I used to play with them every Wednesday night for years when I was at uni and years later until my team started training on a Wednesday, and then only intermittently afterwards.
The reasons were being worried about my back knack as well as nervousness about not playing for a while. I spent this afternoon looking out the window watching the rain and remembering another reason. The rain stopped, I bit the bullet and went.
So, what did I learn?
- I can play reasonably effectively without trying too hard. I wasn’t being lazy per se, in that I think I was effective, I just didn’t have to put myself in harm’s way too often.
- That said, it does annoy me when you think it’s a kick about with friends so don’t try too hard and the little guy you’re trying not hurt hasn’t read the memo and tries to hurt you.
- Playing against players who would still rather play individually is pretty easy.
- I was pleased that I could still see patterns of play and everything happening. It might not have been the most challenging game but it’s still nice that if I ever decide to play again properly that something has stuck around.
- I completely forgot everything else that has been going on while I was playing until about 40 minutes in when I suddenly remembered someone I haven’t spoken to for ages and who doesn’t even like football, wouldn’t come to watch the only big game I’ve ever had or watch a professional game with me (except once in a pub after we’d been ice skating).
- Compression clothing is really hard to take off on your own if you’ve sweated in it.
- I really quite enjoyed it.
By the way, the picture at the top of this post is me playing football a few years ago.
I’m the one in the white shirt roughly in the middle. I think it would make an amazing spot the ball competition, not least because I have no idea what’s going on. The number 27 in the green and white shirt is running in one direction, but I look like I’m
getting out the way of trying to block the ball which would indicate that ball has gone the opposite direction that he and my team mate (far left) are moving in. And the other guy in green and white is showing no real interest at all!
Answers below. I may find a prize.