On Saturday I played my first competitive 11 a-side, full pitch football match in over a year. And I played well. I was playing for my flatmates home-town club which is in Yorkshire - a 40 minute drive away. It wasn't my best game, I made a few mistakes (one bad one) and I faded badly as the game progressed. I got one nomination for man-of-the-match, maybe I would have had more but our striker scored a hat-trick, but as long as the team wins (and we did, 4-0) I'm happy. Our results even get into the local paper!
As I mentioned, I faded badly. So badly in fact that by the end of the macth I was starting to cramp. And I always cramp in the same place: my left calf muscle. I could still run but I couldn't stretch for a pass or a tackle, nor could I jump. Thankfully, we'd already killed the game off by then so it didn't really matter.
Of course, having my muscles on the edge of collapsing is a surefire sign that they were going to be sore the next day, and oh boy, were they ever! I stil managed to take part in a pick-up game on the Sunday though, as I thought it would help loosen up the tension. It might have done, but I still hurt today. A lot. What was weird was that after the 'proper' match the day before, I found the pick-up game really easy - as if I'd stepped back up a level by playing at a more competitive level.
With any luck my good form will continue, and I can shake off the light knocks I picked up (I have a good stud imprint on the top of my right foot) as I'm going to go and try and join the staff football team, which plays in the intra-university league.