I remember the day I threw my footy boots in the bin thinking football was over for me, well certainly for my knee. It was almost a ceremonial moment. The football socks took a little longer to discard, and it was only on the recent move up north did the final bits of kit make their way to the football graveyard.
So when the first women’s walking football session was due to start last week, the scramble for kit was very interesting!
I was a little reluctant initially. The thought of a slower pace of game from the one I used to love was one thing, but this challenging Cumbrian weather was another (I had lived in the south for 15 years), and, besides, who else was going to turn out in wind, rain and occasion hail.
One of my old team mates started playing walking football in Preston a while ago. She told me she loved it, that it brought back the team spirit, the camaraderie and once again the socialising with team mates that you seem to drift away from once you leave a sport. She even said she’d pulled a muscle, which I found hard to believe. She’s now playing for England over 40’s walking football and having once represented England under 21’s at 11 aside, I wonder what happened in her 20’s and 30’s!
Anyway, back to Cumbria and Dallam school last week. On arrival, two us of waited by the entrance to the 3G, and then almost miraculously another 7 followed, one by one, to join us. No one knew each other, there was a complete mix of football experience – from none existent to ex 11 a side players, and yet it worked brilliantly. After a short warm up, we were into a game. We had never played walking football before and soon we were all trying to master the art of walking, walking at speed, and not running, although the occasional jog may have crept in!. No doubt I looked ridiculous at times, but really I couldn't have cared less. I was absolutely loving it. Despite the realisation of just how unfit I was, it was exactly like my friend had described. We laughed, howling at times, we celebrated, we worked as a group, and yes I did pull a muscle. Two days of stiffness followed, but I still have that smile that I had whenever I played our beautiful game. I’m glad I shared it with 8 other equally enthusiastic women.
There’s a huge movement nationally of women footballers, the lost generation, those who never got the chance to play football at school who are discovering the game a little later in life. We want to cater for those women here at Westmorland CFA. For those, like I have, who once played but realised that age or injuries have caught up with us, then this the perfect answer. It really is for everyone, and everyone will be welcomed. We don’t all want to play for England. For now I’d quite like to lose a couple of pounds, have a laugh and meet other people interested in doing the same. If you don’t mind a little wind, a little rain and maybe occasional hail every now and then, then we will be at Dallam School 3G every other Thursday. I can’t wait!
Every other Thursday 6.50pm – 7.50pm (next session 13 February)
£2 per player
Kit; Astro Turf trainers are ideal but trainers are perfectly acceptable. No studded boots. Maybe a waterproof!
Venue; Dallam School 3G, Milnthorpe, Cumbria
Experience; any to none!