Alan Parry: Thou shalt not?
We’ve once again reached that time of year when we accept that it’s pointless trying to change any of our less than healthy habits ahead of the festive season, and all the indulgences that go with it. Back with his comic insight, Alan Parry explores what promises walking footballers will likely make once the new year kicks off…
I’ll start with a terrible confession: this is my least favourite time of the year. Call me a miserable old Scrooge, but I would happily fast forward from December 24th to January 1st.
The first time I walk into a shop and hear the strains of ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, that dreadful song by Slade that’s played everywhere, every year, I fall into a deep depression. According to Noddy Holder ‘Everybody’s having fun’. Well, I’m not!
Unlike the majority of the population, I don’t count down the days to the Christmas holidays with a growing sense of joy and goodwill to all men. For me, the ‘festive’ period means more work, more travel and the knowledge that I’ll have to pretend to be enjoying it when in reality I’ll be counting down the hours until it’s over.
Let’s get one thing straight, for eleven months of the year I enjoy life to the full and most of the people I know would be happy to be in my position. Being a TV commentator and getting paid to watch football is understandably seen as a dream job for most. But I bet they wouldn’t trade places with me in December!
Between Christmas Eve and new year’s day, I’ll be covering four live games for Sky Sport involving eight different teams, a mountain of homework, hundreds of miles on the motorway and lonely hours spent in soulless hotel rooms. And all this whilst the rest of the population is making merry (euphemism for getting bladdered)!
I know it’s a small price to pay for the lifestyle I enjoy most of the year, but it’s tough to stay sober and serious when everyone else is getting sozzled and silly. So, I’m going to wish you a Happy Christmas and move swiftly on to 2018 with a couple of new year resolutions – more like commandments really – for the walking football (WF) community.
Continuing the Biblical theme (and in deference to political correctness I should apologise in advance if this causes offence to anyone):
THOU SHALT NOT RUN.
Think of it as one of the seven deadly sins. Let’s be honest, over the festive holidays you will certainly be committing at least one (and possibly all) of the following misdemeanours: gluttony, greed, sloth, lust and wrath. But in the world of walking football, running is the worst sin of all. Walk don’t run – it’s the only rule that really matters.
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
I love nicking the ball off an opponent as much as anybody, but walking football rules quite clearly state that there should be no physical contact and certainly no hefty tackles, sliding or otherwise. We all have to be in work (or at our allotment) the next day so keep it safe and sensible.
THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR OPPONENT.
The referee has a difficult enough job as it is so quit trying to persuade him that the ball came off the opposing player when it clearly came off you. And don’t go diving to the ground just because someone looked at you the wrong way.
THOU SHALT NOT COVET
I know you’re envious of your team mate’s brand new Nike Air Zoom trainers (RRP £150.00) when you’re slouching around in your old school gym pumps you found in the loft, but get over it. He’s probably a better player than you anyway.
THOU SHALT NOT MURDER
This one’s a no-brainer, really. Tempting though it may be, dismiss all thoughts of violent retribution when the ref gives a decision against you or when your manager substitutes you just as you were getting into your stride. As far as I know (honestly), they don’t play walking football in any high security prisons.
Obviously, like all the other new year wishes regarding alcohol, diets, listening to what the missus is actually saying etc, these resolutions will all be broken (well, maybe not murder?) on or about January 2nd. So, treat them as a bit of fun and have a good ‘un! AP.