Maybe it’s a senior male thing, a bit like throwing away the assembly instructions for flat pack furniture, because “how just how difficult can it really be”? a fact that is rudely discovered eight hours later when the stark truth hits you whilst lying prone on the bedroom floor, surrounded by broken bits of wood, and the threat of divorce.
My introduction to walking football was preceded by a similar form of hubris. A bunch of old men walking around kicking a football, how difficult can it be ? I wonder if I’ll even work up a sweat.
Two hours later having lost half of my considerable body weight in perspiration, and hurting in places where I didn’t even know I had places, my anatomical furniture was in bits, and even B&Q couldn’t provide a replacement instruction leaflet to put this messy shambles back together again.
Any misplaced notions of swagger and pride I arrived with dissipated immediately when I discovered the bloke who nutmegged me is 83 years old, he is not called Granite Bob for nothing.
I’m introduced to our Iranian striker who goes under the nickname of The Assassin. I decided not to delve too deeply into the origin of this. Everyone here has a nickname, it took the lads about twenty minutes to assign me the illustrious title of “Touchline Mike”
Our goalkeeper’s nickname, “The Cat” may be stretching the definition of feline grace and agility to its extremes, but with gloves the size of satellite dishes, and the ability to dive like a Tom Daley on steroids, he keeps more clean sheets than the Hastings Travelodge.
This eclectic squad consists of, amongst others, Ken The Bass, Posh Richard, El Jay, Legendary Rog, and Magic Wond, but surely the best nickname is reserved for the local plumber and defensive hard man Marco Van Gasman.
I’ve discovered one thing age does not impinge upon is the sheer joy of kicking a football with a group of like minded people. My muscle memory is almost as forgetful as my actual one, but I am now at the stage where I can just about recover in time for the next game.
To those that inhabit our own little sporting arenas the Stade Geriatrica on Mondays, and the cage of dreams on a Saturday, I thank you from the bottom of my palpatacious heart for giving me a new lease of life.