Saturday, 29 September 2012

I Played Football

Just a day before my 48th birthday and a mere 7 and a half months after the operation I walked out of the front door with a football under my arm and my five-a-side trainers on my feet.

I jogged right out of the door, turned right at the end of the street and just a minute later I was in the park. I carried on jogging through the park until I had reached my destination; a concreted area with a wall at one end, high fences on the other three sides and a small five a side goal at either end.

It was 8.45am and the area was deserted. Not another soul was at the pitch. No, I wasn't ridiculously early, and no I had not been stood up by my footballing chums. This empty pitch was exactly what I had come for.

I dropped the ball in front of me and slowly, tentatively, gave it a little shove with my foot. I started to jog after it and did it again. This felt good. Before long I had reached the end where the wall was, I braced myself and gave the ball a proper kick. It flew away, crashed against the wall and came back almost straight to me. I tapped it forward, and then hit it again at the wall and started jogging along. This carried on for a few minutes, me just dribbling round the pitch and occasionally hitting against the wall.

I was playing football. Bliss.

Having been round the pitch a few times as a warm up I then did some shuttle runs, back and forth to different points on the edge of the semi-circular area from the middle of the goal. Just testing the push-off strength and change of direction ability of the knee.

Next came some zig-zag running between the two lines in the middle of the pitch which mark the edge of the two basketball  courts which are painted across the football area. I rolled the ball down the middle, then zig-zagged after it as quick as possible trying to catch it up. This was followed by a new form of zig-zag running which I invented myself. Running along a straight line at pace with my left foot landing on the right of the line and my right foot landing on the left.

Over thirty or so minutes I came up with many variations of these and other exercises. When I had finished I ran home with a smile smeared across my sweaty face. I was soaked through and knackered. I hadn't noticed how much running I had done, at no point had I felt the need to force myself to keep going. This is the difference between playing football and running on a treadmill. Katie always takes a tennis ball with us on walks. If I get tired, she throws it and I chase it. I maybe dumb, but she's not.

The next morning as I walked to the gym I noticed that my legs felt tired in a way they had not done for ages. I thought about it and realised that it was because I had exercised them in a way I hadn't done for ages. I decided that the end of the road to recovery was well in sight.

The day after my birthday I went to the gym and as I took my wrist band from the receptionist she piped up.

"Oh, sorry, I was going to say this yesterday. Happy belated birthday."

I'm a pedant, even when someone is being nice.

"I think you mean belated happy birthday." I said it with a smile but I knew before the sound waves had even hit her ears that it was cruel.

"What do you mean?"

Well I'd started, so I had to see if through.."It's your greeting that is late, not my birthday, so you need to be saying a belated happy birthday."

"Whatever." She looked at her nails.

"Thanks anyway though."

"              ", she replied. It was the loudest silence you'll ever not hear.

My knee may be almost better but I'm still and idiot.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that you have a great site! Keep up the good work.

    Knee replacement surgery