Always my hardest, just not my longest

Eish. Suddenly that title looks very dodgy. But please bear with me.

I’m not feeling 100% today. Bit snotty. Bit stiff and sore. Bit under the weather.
Nothing too bad. Really no biggie. Maybe 75%. Just not 100%.

And there’s football tonight, which could honestly have come on a much better day. But one needs a very good reason for dropping out of the squad on the day: a big fire, a war, actual death or some such. Certainly not “feeling a bit meh”.
Also, it’s the last game of the year, and so I was totally ready to make the effort. And, after all, with rolling subs, one can roll off more than one rolls on, and use your reduced energy, sensibly and effectively. On days when others haven’t been feeling their best, I’ve stepped up and done more than my share of running. So tonight, I will play my hardest (of course), but maybe just not my longest.

All was good, and I was at peace with my decision.

And then I looked at the squad. My fok, Maralize: Ke Dezemba has taken its toll. There are 5 of us.
No rolling subs. No subs of any kind, in fact. Just 40 minutes of hard slog against a younger, fitter team.

Ah Jesus.
This calls for pre-emptive anti-inflammatories and a quick change of mindset.

Both of which will absolutely happen, and there will be nothing short of 100% effort on my part.

But tomorrow (or possibly even later tonight) is going to bring a World Of Pain.

I’m ready.

Nights like these

Last night was amazing.

Some aging footballers, forced into a double header, back-to-back against teams much higher than them in the log, both of whom had fresh legs from not playing twice that evening, and from “being young”.

And yet, against all the odds, we came out with two huge wins.

It’s like a Hollywood movie script yet to be written.

The first match, surprising in its eventual 9-3 margin, and taking full advantage of the other side forced into capitulating early in the second half, was a masterclass in taking chances. I even scored a goal with my face.
The second one though, was arguably even better. A tight 4-3 win in a real slog of a game, which became bad tempered and downright nasty towards the end; our opponents’ arrogance clearly on display and their displeasure at getting beaten by a team of “whining old men” so very enjoyable to witness.

My left thigh is a complete mess of bruises this morning from their naughtiness (yes, I’m probably too old for this), but I’m wearing them like a (painful) badge of honour after another one of those great football nights.

And maybe there’s more we can learn from this, with a somewhat lop-sided rugby semi-final coming up. A triumph for the written-off underdog, through sheer will, determination, a never-say-die team spirit, the willingness to give it all for each other, and full commitment no matter what.

Or maybe that was just us last night.

But what a night.

Sunday morning

Nice way to spend a Sunday morning: a friendly 5-a-side under the mountain and by the sea.

It would have been even nicer if someone had told the opposition that it was a friendly. I have a messed up ankle and sore ribs from a bit of a naughty tackle.

But as you can see above, all’s well that ends well, and we had fun (and we won).

Drinks, prego rolls and Japan v Costa Rica followed, and then it was home to get some ice on my swollen leg.

Memorable morning out.

Day 164 – Footy, an afternoon of footy, then more footy

I played football this morning for the first time since… well… you know what.

Plenty of precautions. Sanitiser, temperature checks (thankfully very early on!) and track and trace all details taken and logged.

It was warm enough and I was not match-fit enough for it to be wholly comfortable, but wow – it felt good to play again. And while the heat of summer is on its way, the fitness will come back too.

Then an afternoon of football: Sheffield United women beating Millwall London City Lionesses 4-1 and Ajax Cape Town winning their first playoff league match 3-2 after a topsy-turvy second half.

And then this evening is Fantasy League Draft night. 12 players, 4 continents: the magic of camaraderie and the internet. And football.


Another game of football beckons this evening; something that I am really looking forward to. Or rather, I was. I do need to somehow mend my lower limbs first though, as after a hefty gym session yesterday (and despite a gentle one this morning), I am very much suffering from Concrete Leg Syndrome.

You won’t find any reference to Concrete Leg Syndrome in any of the medical books, because it’s a name I just made up. There are no visible contusions, no specific damage to the muscles or joints of the legs, nor is there any one area or part which is particularly painful. It’s just that in CLS, it does genuinely feel like your legs are made of concrete. Heavy, immobile (no, not the Italian centre forward), generally slow and a bit grumpy.

I’m not in agony, not even pain. To be honest, even ‘mild discomfort’ is going a bit OTT as a description. I’m simply just aware that my legs appear to be made of concrete at the moment.

Because CLS isn’t actually a thing, there’s also no real treatment for it. Sure, stretching helps a bit, and generally a little light exercise assists with easing the weightiness of the thighs.  I’ve also tried popping a couple of anti-inflammatories, but it seems that time is the only healer. And given that tonight’s game kicks off in about 6 hours, it’s something I don’t have a lot of. Later, I may slather my lower half (no, not all of it) with Deep Heat in a last ditch attempt to wake my legs up from their petrified stupor.

There may be advantages too, of course. It must surely be difficult for an opponent to injure a concrete leg, and if I get time to swing one of my mighty trunks backwards and then forwards again into the ball (and I get it on target), there’s likely to be no stopping it – even the net may be in danger. But 5-a-side relies mainly on speed and dexterity: attributes I was already running a little short of given my advanced years. CLS will likely only make things worse. Just call me The Statue.

Watch this space tomorrow, as I report back on the game and my personal experience of 40 minutes of high tempo, leg-dragging football.