I have the legs for football. What I mean is that my ankles are strong, my calf muscles are large and my knees are able to take knocks and blows of varying weights. My legs are what I consider to be the most attractive part of me, especially in a kilt. The reason for this is not that I am fit - far from me to say that I am - but that when I was young I played an inordinate amount of football. The problem I always had was that I was never that good at it. I always found my self being picked for the reason that I was able to be in the right place at the right time, but I never had the mind for a real game of football at all.
This only recently became apparent. My first few games as a teenager with mates turned into an almost daily two hour bought of football. Friends from all over the area would descend on the playing fields next to my house and we would kick a ball about in teams of up to 7 or so each. This is without a doubt the peak of my physical ability - able to run for several hours after Scott Gailey, the most stamina laden guy I knew is something that you have to be able to evolve into.
This wasn't all for nothing though - my game ability went skywards. I really learned a lot playing that much football day in day out and it wasn't until I started to play regularly with older fellows at The Link's five a side games did it dawn that all that training had helped my skill level to rise. Now, we played weekly, and I feel that whilst I pale in comparison to some, my ability is not too bad, if lacking a little confidence.
Recently, the numbers of our games have been bolstered by the introduction of two Texans to the ranks of the football playing masses. The good natured minds of these new comers is apparent when, out of know where, they will body check you, or kick the ball out of the pitch into the stratosphere. This is because even though they know what they are doing and can do it to a good degree, they are not obviously born footballers.
They grew up on American football - playing it or watching it, they know how to play that game. It is the little nuances that change - most the first touch isn't quite as reflexive as someone who has been playing for years, and neither is the mindset to defend. What we take for granted, they don't do automatically.
The funny thing is that I am starting to think that one weekend in the future we should try and get a game of American football going, give them a shot at beating us at their own game. Sure the rules would have to be sorted out (I mean, I have no idea how a regular, non televised game of American football works without the several referees and the lovely cheerleaders, though maybe we could get some of the female engineers to stand in) but it would be quite an challenging thing to learn to play. I think the tables would be turned - they'd notice us not being natural at tracking back or following the ball... indeed, I have no doubt that I'd not be able throw a football any distance...
Rugby on the other hand... that might be a good level playing field, if you excuse the pun.