I used to enjoy playing football. Football was to me an escape, something I could do to forget about the world. During a football match, other aspects of life just melted away into a swirling mass of hopes and dreams, stress and pressures. No, the cat didn’t die; no, my weight was just right; no, I had no problems with any addiction; no, my life was just perfect.
I used to be good at it — was never the last to be called during school’s recess instant draft pick, often one of the first. Was always dependable to keep the goals out, or knock the goals in, depending on the situation; always played a reasonably good game. I liked it.
Then as I grew older, the ability gap between myself and my peers slowly grew too. I was good, but never that good anymore. Due to work commitments, I started playing less of the game; I stopped following the EPL (English Premier League);I stopped buying football magazines; I stopped thinking footy.
Football became less and less a part of my life, so much so that sometimes when people ask who play football, I fail to raise up my hand or make known my keeness of it. During ice-breakers, football is hardly mentioned anymore as being one of my hobbies; it has, in effect, removed itself from my identity.
I played it intermittently, but each time I played it, it appeared to reinforce my feelings of inadequacy — in football; in life. I started not only not liking the sport, but almost loathing it.
Then one day, out of the blue, I had a good game. A great game. Not only did I not make any serious errors, I actually added to the game’s value. Without me, the game would have been less than what it was.
My relationship with the game improved two-, no, four-, fold instantly. I was looking forward to the next game! And I still am.