|Arsenal's Tony Adams, the best English defender ever.|
I've joined a local over-45s football team and played in my first match on Friday. The last time I played on a team, three years ago, I was well out of my depth in terms of skill and conditioning. Most of the other players - and our opponents - were half my age or even younger; our striker was still attending Waterloo-Oxford high school! This time, I'm one of the younger players and while the game was challenging, I didn't feel like I struggled. In the first half I played in midfield, which means supporting both the defence and forwards, thus a lot of running. Yeah, I was often out of breath, but the natural breaks in the game allowed me to rest when necessary.
Although I wasn't as embarrassingly bad as I had feared I might be, there was plenty of room for improvement. Things improved greatly in the second half when I moved back into a defensive right-back position. My role was to mark one of the opposition's attacking players and thus make him a less attractive target to whom his team mates could pass. For the most part I think I was pretty successful.
Unlike the Wilmot Men's team I played on a few years ago, this team play once a week (Friday evenings) and have no training sessions. This means less of a time commitment from me, and less punishment for my aging body.
Even though I played - and ran - for 80 out of the game's 90 minutes (it's normal for players to be substituted and reinstated throughout), I actually feel pretty good today (I'm writing this the morning after). There are very few aches, other than slightly stiff hamstrings. Lots of recent stretching and mobility work certainly paid off.