May 18th, 2006

Tea-drinker par excellence

Eat my goal

I played football in Regent's Park on Tuesday night. It was my first game, first real exercise since last October and the first time in about 3 years that I've played outside with as many players. And even though I ache still, two days later, in places I didn't know I had places, it was sure joy.

Football is one of the things that I'm best at. I can pass a ball into space over 40 yds, score from distance with either foot, shield the ball well and my heading is pretty decent too. I never had much pace, and I've got even less now but I think I really held my own in a game where most players were 10 years younger than me.

Paula can't understand how plodding around in the rain in a muddy field for two hours can be anything other than disheartening but I find football provides release across the full physical and mental range. You can be agressive, defensive, careful, risky. There's teamwork, hope and failure, despair and success. If you think that watching your favourite team brings all these, there's even more when you're part of it yourself.

It's hard to express but when you're in that zone where you don't have to think about what you're doing, you just do it and it works, the sense of inner peace and rightness is terrifically uplifting. Although I suppose that one of the areas where sport wins is that the result is closely linked causally and in time to the act.