#Fit40ZA | Football, illness, bacon and other crises.

5-a-side football field

After a week of nutritional and health setbacks on his road to holistic wellness, MR SIPHIWE MPYE finds solace in his rekindled love affair with the always frantic world of 5-a-side football.  

The bad news first: I fell, I fell hard this week, in my quest for the body fit and beautiful, chalking up two cheat days. Bacon, cheese, relish, two fried eggs on ciabatta  at my favourite little haunt on one day, and a dirty burger dripping with extra cheese, fries and yet another serving of bacon the day after. Damn that swine.

The morbid upside is that I have maintained my weight loss, having succumbed to a bout of flu and was out for two days. I couldn’t consume much beyond liquids and fruit, so the cheat days were written off in a, erm, sick kind of way. Earlier in the week though, when I was in a better place, adding an old favourite to the training routine, a 5-a-side football game.

The older I get, the more I play up the fact that had life thrown me a slightly different set of cards, I might have ended up a professional footballer. At the highest level in the world, I strongly believe. At U/13 level I could pretty much dribble past the entire opposition and score bags of goals. As a teenager I matured into a ball playing midfielder with an eye for the spectacular pass and shot. Never quick, I learned to use anticipation and my brain to always be at least two steps head of the opposition, and at University I straddled the heart of defence and an adventurous defensive midfield position prone to as many full blooded tackles, as forays of intent into the opposition’s 18-yard area. Had I the pace required of modern footballers, I truly believe the PSL would have been a quick ascent into Europe. But this might-have-been is way in the distance now.

It has been over two years since I played football, having injured my ankle repeatedly. The two-year hiatus was to ensure that I healed properly and didn’t aggravate the injury. As usual, the majority of the participants in my new weekly game, are in their 20s and early 30s and bar a few showy flourishes, I chased my tail for at least the first 20 minutes. My  game time was no more than 40 minutes combined (thank the ancestors for rolling substitutions), but two days passed with no end to the lead that was my arms; the weight on the small of my back; the numbness in my thighs and the tender shins. Curiously though, as I write this, I look forward to going back to jam with the younguns and feeling optimistic that soon my old bones will prove to still have an potential for the spectacular.

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