So today I’m off work with a busted shoulder and a messed up hand. Playing football yesterday I chased down one of their players from the half way line but I’m sad to say that my age coupled with my general unfitness meant he pipped me to the post at the last minute and scored.
I clipped his foot as I was running and went head over heels rolling on the ground and coming up with a pain in my shoulder and in my thumb.
One visit to the physio later and I have a few weeks of pain ahead.
However, this injury won’t stop me playing fitba’… what Australians call soccer (while calling both types of Rugby football – weird huh!).
My dad has played the game all of his life. He stopped about two years ago, then aged 63, as he just wasn’t up to it anymore but damn what a player in his day.
I loved the game as a child. I played non-stop. My mother dreamed of me one day playing for Scotland and wearing the blue top in Hampden – Scotland’s stadium.
I kicked a ball with my dad in the garden, in the park next to the house. I’d play in the street with goal posts made from jumpers. Watching it was ok but playing it was amazing.
Then one day I was on my BMX doing ‘jumps’ at the local burn. The jump goes wrong and the bike goes down…right onto a broken bottle. I was 10. One of the older boys. The eldest of the Hardie brothers picked me up and ran me home. Others had run to get my my parents. The blood was pouring out of my kneecap.
I spent my entire summer holidays in hospital because the doctors didn’t x-ray me and when I lay awake screaming they realised that I had glass in my bloodstream heading to my heart. They did more operations on my leg to get everything out and I was left scarred.
Physically and mentally.
I stopped playing football. I was scared that I would damage my knee and spend more time in hospital. Sure I would have a kick-about but I hated playing it at high-school for fear of what would happen if my knee was damaged. There was so much blood and I can never forget that feeling of glass coursing through my veins.
I stopped playing it nearly altogether until six years ago I ended up playing in social game. The same tournament that I injured myself in yesterday.
But I don’t care about the injuries I got yesterday because it is simply par for the course. It’s worse risking things to do what you love.
And I love playing football. I love to play the ‘beautiful game’ because nearly anyone can.
So today i’m in pain but next Sunday I’ll be back on the pitch running (slower than I could years ago) up and down and trying to stop the opposition from getting through our defence.
If I could go back in time and tell my younger self that everything will be ok and that he should go out and play…I would and who knows where my life would have ended up then (probably still here I’m not that good!).