Crowd Goes Wild

As I was stroking my second of two goals in during my first return to football in 14 months, I realised that I hadn't really lost any of my "skill", but had lost the confidence in which to carry it out. I turned up, a little nervous and a little tentative, before my first game of the new "season", as I hadn't played any fives when out in Texas, and only ever played (American) Football once, rarely doing anything of any physicality in the whole year. I truly felt the difference when starting to walk on the commute, and now I can brave the whole journey without worry or sweat.

But the game of football has always been a true test of my fitness, or lack of. And I was mostly worried about the possibility that I had lost any of the week in and week out fitness I had picked up back when it was a regular occurrence. The cardio work out that I get in a single hour long game of fives is tantamount to the best work out I can get. I was recently talking to Connie about "secret exercise", or tricking you into getting fit without the whole rigmarole of working out – I find few things as boring as running on a treadmill for 45 minutes or more. But fives is essentially that, but more fun.

And that was the kicker – it was still very much fun. It was still hard going, at first, but it was still the best exercise I get all week.

I started the game in goals, thinking that I could warm up a little more whilst the rest of the team played a bit of football. In my time in goals I saved a few good shots and managed to, not under pressure, get the first touch out of the way. Indeed, as soon as I was out of goals we went from being two ahead to level – maybe the team didn't adjust to me being out field (or it was to do with my only howler of the game leading to the equalising goal).

Soon after though, I fell back into the grove; moving to make space, running, and tackling. I don't feel like I have lost my footballing abilities really, maybe just lost a little sharpness when it comes to instinct (I was beaten several times by the run of the ball, or the spin off the boards) but most of the time I felt competent, and contributed well.

I was shocked when I scored my first goal – a nice left foot swing into the bottom left corner. I was even more surprise when I finished with my right foot a fabulous through ball into the bottom right corner, wondering if my gap in playing might have rejuvenated my right foot's credence in play. It wasn't until I managed to square a few good passes and assist a few goals that I realised that I just had lost some confidence.

So the aches and pains in the morning are back, and the coughing after the cold weather return too. Just don't call it a comeback.