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Wednesday 11 June 2003

Switching Codes... [vagga]

I have been looking for a team sport to play for ages, while I like soccer IÂ’m just shit at it, and its no fun when youÂ’re the last person picked no matter what you do. I was finding myself training twice a week with this team and on one occasion a few weeks back they played a game with 10 men when they knew I was free. Fuck that, I know IÂ’m shit and donÂ’t expect to be made captain or anything but when your short on men and have a game and someone who has been at training is free you should use that person. Well so I packed that in and resumed my search for some kind of team sport to play.
At my house warming a few weeks back I was chatting to an Aussie mate of mine and he was saying his Aussie rules team was short on EU players! I must say I laughed a lot. I was picturing 20 large Aussie blokes screaming at me for being a ‘facking pe0n’ whenever I dropped the ball or something! But the idea grew on me. Its better than working more and slowly growing into a realistic parody of “Fat Bastard” from Austin Powers!
Aussie rules is essentially Gaelic football (Irelands national sport) with bits of soccer and rugby. Indeed the game was started about 150 years ago by an ex headmaster of Rugby school and a bunch of Irish blokes! I have played a lot of rugby up to about 2 or 3 years ago, and played Gaelic football when I was a nipper, up to the age of 14, so its not like IÂ’m going to get dropped into the game not knowing my arse from my elbow. I can hand pass, I can kick an oval shaped ball etc. Training is in Regents Park twice a week, only for 90 minutes a time. Its very well organised, you donÂ’t waste time with pointless running or mind numbing drills like in some soccer and rugby teams I have been on in the past, its all drills that involve the ball in some way or another (and no shortage of running and sprinting trust me)
So the idea grew in my head, and last week I went to my first ever practice for the team I would be trying out for. When I looked into it, its really organised, there are a whole host of teams here in London and even a league of sorts at home in Ireland. The team I’m playing with are quite good, having won the whole thing two out of the last three years. But it is a culture shock. Being new to the game I’m kicking and punching the ball all-wrong, I’m sure I’m catching wrong, but no one has said anything yet! But its just fun, its fun to be running around in a team again! They are all nice blokes, its all praise and well done’s, the first night I was there I knew one my mate, but the rest of them made a point of coming over and introducing themselves to me. When I have ever joined a new team at anything before you just stand at the back and people pick up your name and shit slowly. One of the league rules is that half the people on each team have to be ‘EU’ players – basically not Aussies. So anyone who is not an aussie is always well sought after. I‘m still going to be crap at it and I’m not expecting miracles but it a laugh and that’s all I’m after at the end of the day. The real test is this weekend when I may end up having to play due to another EU bloke being injured last week – throwing me in at the deep end!
To be honest, at the end of the day all I want it a team sport and to be able to do a bit of running about a few times a week, as thatÂ’s the only way IÂ’m going to loose weight and be able to keep it off. This is perfect to, as after the season is over the rugby season will be starting and I will be 10 weeks fitter so be able to go back to a random London rugby team near the level I left the game, as I will be able to run again; pre season training wont kill me (literally)!!
Anyway, IÂ’m sure you donÂ’t care, but IÂ’m waiting for a few builds and had nothing else to do or say!
PS: Buy (or download) the ‘new’ Led Zeppelin live album from 1972 – amazing isn’t the word!


  1. I'm very much in the same boat as you. I didn't like/play football until I was 17. As such I have 13 years less experience than most team players which makes me quite shit at it.
    I also love playing team games. Its one of the reasons I liked q2ctf and cs back in their days.
    However I've recently been playing twice a week since I was given the all clear after my eye surgery and I've regained my fitness and some skills. I'm now confident enough to start looking for a pub/sunday team to play for. Most of my friends think that as long as I try hard I shouldn't have a problem playing regularly.
    My advice is to keep playing. Play 'fun' football for a while to work on confidence, fitness and skills. I've already invited you to the games on Clapham common and you're still welcome to come along. Your former team obviously wasn't worth playing for if they didn't have the guts to tell you that they didn't want you.

  2. It was his ping.

  3. I play soccer once a week with work, and we have a bunch of tournaments and stuff during the summer (after the glory of beating the evil eidos to win MCV cup last week!) I just want something with a bit of bite aswel, I dont like the part of soccer where you touch someone and they fall over, I like the part of rugby and indeed now aussie footie where you can crunch in hard and really hit someone. One more booking and Im out for the rest of the season (only 3 games left i think..) in the work footie I think, so Im not the cleanest soccer player ever :)
    I would jump to the chance to play with you and your mates, but the only problem with clapham is that its miles away from me, 60-90 minute commute, but thanks for the invite!

  4. Bummer, Its 45 mins for me but its usually really good fun so I'm prepared to make the trip. I am a little worried about your eagerness to kill in each tackle. Still, I play right back in serious football due to my lack of speed so I'd probably be safe.