Football – Day 49
The next challenge is football. My six year old son looked at me with all the concern he could muster and pointedly said, “but Mummy, you can’t play football.” It was true that, by the age of 4, my little boy could tackle me and get past me when playing football in the garden. When I travel to most sports, I have no idea how it is going to go, as I inevitably haven’t tried it before but football is different. I have a proven track record of being rubbish. It’s a shame really, as I love the game and like nothing better than cuddling up on a Saturday night to watch Match of the Day.
With my son’s reality check ringing in my ears, I headed off to Saltash to train with Dobwalls Ladies FC. After the Lacrosse debacle, where I failed to dress for the conditions, I decided not to take any chances and wrapped myself up like a polar bear, with my under-layer, big socks, tracky bottoms and my huge hockey shin pads. All of which seemed a huge mistake after just the warm-up.
We started with a simple passing drill, which actually felt quite comfortable. It turns out that you need a decent ball and wearing appropriate footwear helps, unlike my flip-flops in the garden. Maybe this is why I am usually so bad? I was gaining a little bit of confidence with the passing as we moved on to a two-on-one exercise. My spatial awareness, movement and calling were OK but my control was ropey and any time a defender approached me, I panicked as the tackle came in. I did manage to somehow dink the ball through the legs of the defender and then shout: “Nuts!”
We moved on to three-on-three, and my lack of fitness was starting to show. I felt like a boil in the bag fish with all of my get up on. I decided that my job in this exercise was to “create space,” which involved me running up and down the wing, in a pass avoidance mission. The drill developed into a 5-a-side game. Suddenly my teammates started putting on some skills, as my powers started to wane.
Obviously with so many names to recall, I shall have to use my imagination to describe the play. Within minutes Angela Di Maria stormed up the wing and deftly passed to Lauren Messi to score. In hockey, I myself have a few game plays I like to employ; the main one, which brings me a fair amount of success, is to shimmy to the right, shimmy to the left and then goal hang. I missed out the shimmying and went straight to the goal line and called for the ball. It then occurred to me the offside rule would preclude this strategy, so I sloped back a bit.
Amidst my indecision, the blokes’ team, who were playing after us, filed in and started watching. I made a few runs and called for the ball and my team, bless them, indulgently passed me the ball, only for me to let out a pterodactyl shriek as the ball ran away from me. One time, a looping ball came to me, which I tried to control with my chest, to which I wailed, “it hit me on the boob!!” The men were sniggering and I really wanted a time-out to fully explain to them that it was my first time properly playing football but I sensed that stopping the game for such a parley was inappropriate.
We finished on some shooting. Compared to a hockey goal, a football goal is a huge area and if it wasn’t for the pesky goalkeeper cramping my style, I think I would have scored a bagful!
The session finished and it went really well. I had enjoyed my time with the girls but it made me miss the banter of being part of a team. One of the girls asked if I would consider playing - apparently they were short on numbers and I detected desperation. However, when I recount this to my son in the morning, I will exclude that detail and tell him that a team wanted to sign me but couldn’t afford the transfer fee - I still have a few a years left before he works out Mummy’s fabricated web of lies.
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