Running In, Please Pass

I have loved football all my life and I continued playing it until my late fifties at which point I started to become rather over-agitated when kicked by children, deciding that my subsequent reactions were not always beneficial for my blood pressure.  I found being kicked by people of my own age so much more acceptable, but so few of them were still at it.  And I don’t want you to think that I was totally averse to a bit of kicking myself, but when those you are kicking are younger than your own children, it all starts to feel a little odd.  Frustration started to take hold and I considered it wise to heed the signs that it might be advisable to call it a day.  We are not talking elite football here; there were no uniformed paramedics on stand-by.  If I had suffered a heart attack, somebody would have had to nip round to the local Co-op on their pushbike to find out whether the community defibrillator had been nicked again.  I fear that the black shroud would have been tightened around me long before the hands of the on-call doctor.

Anyway, I stopped playing and I should be able to say that I thought no more about it, but that would be simply untrue.  I think about it all the time.  Not going back of course.  I am sixty three and even though I know that I am fit enough to do it, it is the reaction of the other players, potentially a quarter of my age, that I fear.  The possibility of not being tackled, lest I should break, is not something I choose to consider.  The possibility of not being substituted by the manager whilst having a mare, lest I should be terminally upset, is not something I would ponder.  There is definitely no going back. 

So I now need to contemplate ‘Walking Football’ and, it may be a sign of my softening brain, but there are times when it almost feels like a good idea.  There are also times when I question the entire rationale of taking myself off to play a game with a bunch of old codgers who cannot run anymore.  Me, an old codger who can run, sometimes for seconds at a time.  Is it really appropriate?  Could I play football without, at least, breaking into an amble?  Would I be forced to chase the ball like Benny Hill chasing a scantily-clad nurse*?  How fast is it possible to walk without breaking into a trot?  Is there, perhaps, a maximum walking speed and, if so, how is it measured?  It all sounds just a little too complicated to me.  Maybe I need to look for some other form of low impact sport to replace those that propriety dictates I can no longer do.  What about cricket with a foam ball and a rubber bat; tennis with no opponent, but with the ball on a length of string; perhaps touch rugby could be slowed down by tying boot laces together and wrapping the ball in Velcro.  Maybe I should take up Crazy Golf, I’m sure the walk would do me good. 

*If anybody below the age of fifty is reading this – although God knows why they would – they may need to Google Benny Hill and watch Youtube in order to understand what I am getting at.  I wish it to be known that I cannot be held responsible for attitudes that were fifty years out of date before Mr Hill started employing them.  Just saying…