My bloody pink GAA boots
Tonight I started playing Gaelic football at Pairc Chiaran with the new Dads and Lads group which follows the Mothers and Others theme of getting people active and enjoying one of our national sports. Just like the ladies, I was going to need to buy myself some new shoes and found myself looking at some size nine pink tipped NIKE boots in Golden Island.
The colour made me think, DON´T DO IT but the NIKE model Tiempo made me pause for a second, as Tiempo is the Spanish word for time and I had to decide if it was my time, or time to call time on any ideas of playing football at forty, especially when I never really played Gaelic football as a child.
Simon Keagan introduced me to the Madrid Harps when I moved to Spain in 2012 and for a few years I really did enjoy kicking about with the Harps, as we crisscrossed the Peninsula playing tournaments.
I decided to go with the pink boots, and decided that this was my time even though I was unsure if I would make it past the first night's training with the lads, and the dads, and I feared I could be hanging up my boots as soon as I got them, or to paraphrase from Ernest Hemingway, "For Sale, Football Boots, Never worn."
I did try on the boots and met a guy called Andy who was smoking when I arrived at Pairc Chiaran. Andy ran laps around me on the pitch despite the cigarettes but when I pointed out my pink shoes, he quipped, they're bloodstained shoes, and off we went to warm up on a cold December night.
The World Cup was on, controversial being held in Quatar but back home there were a few familiar faces passing size 5 O'Neills around the floodlit pitch, and a few familiar faces on Prime Time when I got home, who were discussing the problems with sport washing football. Conor McMorrow had an interesting report on RTE but I still remember his early days writing locally for the Athlone Voice.
It was my boss who encouraged me to come along to football training, and we remained on brand with our yellow bibs even though I am not sure the town even knows that we have adopted a yellow themed colour for the business.
He had asked me in work if I ever played underage, and I told him that I drank underage but that I had played internationally.
Off site from Arcadia but not far away in Pairc Chiaran, I am still surprised that they hired a blogger as their Facilities Manager, and while Andy encouraged me not to be shy, I told him I was more worried about being, well the word rhymes with site.
The game was great, well done to the yellow team, hard luck reds, and despite being a poor player wearing pink boots, it was my time after all and I enjoyed blocking a few shots as faster players darted up and down, as I sat down and caught my breath a few times.
I kicked a long shot straight down the field which went off to the right but was somehow caught by one of my team mates, and at one stage those bright pink spikes stopped a direct shot on our goals even though I was probably trying to head the ball.
I wouldn't know my arse from my elbow when it comes to football but it could be worse, with someone transferring from Madrid, they could have got Ronaldo site talking about the club.