Mike Adams: A view from the corner flag…
“Walking Football! what on earth is that all about?” I asked myself as I picked up the small leaflet. The idea of “strolling soccer” just tickled my sense of humour so with a small chuckle I pocketed the small piece of paper, perhaps for future reference, or perhaps for the onset of winter colds and sniffles….
Then came the annual check up with the diabetic nurse. I was quietly confident going in. I vaguely recognised that the regular visits to the gym had become less and less regular, that walking the dogs had gradually reduced to a fifty yard stroll to a park bench and throwing a ball, and that red wine and cheese were perhaps not the ideal accompaniment to every evening meal but hey, I had actively played rugby most of my life and used to be fit, and still plan to be so, when circumstances dictate, so all should be fine.
The dour look of disapproval on the face of the nurse soon put me right in my place, along with her words of warning.
“Blood pressure up, Blood sugar levels up and weight up. This is a final warning, the next move will be drastic unless we get this under control!”
“Come back in three months for an interim assessment and review of medication. We may have to consider insulin injections.”
The last phrase was still ringing in my ears, and bouncing around the pit of my stomach, as I walked back to the car. I hate injections, What can I do? Nervously I shuffled my hands in my pockets, and out of my pocket popped the “Walking Football” leaflet.
On the basis of “any idea must be a good idea” and almost clutching at straws, the following day saw me sitting in the reception area at the leisure centre quietly explaining to the others that I had not played football since a school house match in April 1968 so would they please humour me, and be gentle.
And so they did! My many errors were ignored, my utter lack of pace went unremarked, the occasional pass that went straight was applauded and handshakes and pats on the back when a mis-hit kick slid past the goalkeeper and went in the net! An hour later, after an enjoyable stroll with a purpose and lots of fun, I was back in reception enthusiastically discussing the many moves and goals with my new colleagues. As with angling my story grew in the telling!
“That was fun I might come back next week”, and I did, again, and again, and it got better, and better.
Within four weeks I played in my first tournament, meeting new friends from other clubs in the area, and having lots of fun whilst getting in nearly three hours of gentle exercise
Within 12 weeks I was back in the doctors surgery and hearing another story. “Blood pressure down, weight down by over ten kilos and sugar levels back to normal. Come back in six months and we will check with a view to reducing your medication”
Was all this down to walking football? Probably not, but it certainly helped to improve my fitness and to create an enjoyment in regular exercise. So much so that I am now considering joining a second club, just to prove that with a will, and whilst enjoying yourself, diabetes can be beaten!
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