Yesterday evening, for the first time in over a decade, I played a game of football with people my own age. I have been talking for years about getting involved but always made my excuses, and of course for much of the last 20 months the pitches have been closed.
In September my son and I watched a couple of Monday evening games involving some friends of mine. They play outdoors about 10 minutes’ walk away. It was 27 degrees Celsius during one of the matches. I was hoping to get fit enough to join in at some point, when the weather cooled down, but during October and November these games clashed with a dance class that I take my son to. I know another group of people who play later on a Monday night, also outdoors but further away. They’re part of a league and playing for them would be too much of a commitment for me right now. There’s also a Wednesday night game organized by someone I was at school with, but in recent months Wednesday has been my usual night for socializing, with no sport involved. Since August I have caught up with groups of friends from college and school, and there’s even been the odd live gig.
So, Friday night’s games, in a school hall 10-15 minutes’ drive away, are the ones that I can join in most easily. I checked one out in the autumn of 2019 to make sure that I wouldn’t be too far off the pace, and felt that I could just about keep up. By the time the UK went into lockdown in March 2020 I still hadn’t committed to an actual game. For the last few months, with the pitches open again, I have always felt that I am a few weeks away from being fit enough to run around for an hour. After last night’s exertions I can confirm that I am still some weeks short of match fitness, but the few goals I knocked in have made up for the pains in my legs. I also had my Covid booster jab this afternoon. I ache all over, and I feel great.