I miss not being able to play football. That simple statement covers a wide range of experiences and emotions I no longer have access to. Maybe, one day, I’ll get myself back into a good enough condition, and my dud knees will co-operate, so as to have more time on the hallowed turf. Till then, it’s only dreams for me.
Take that as background part one.
Background part two is the story of Darren Fletcher.
Darren is a Manchester United and Scotland player who has been battling ulcerative colitis, a medical condition that stopped his career in its tracks. After trying some drug treatments, he gambled on surgery. It appears to have worked.
Obviously, my word of football is a billion miles away from that of Darren Fletcher, but there are shared experiences and a context that may be useful in understanding where I am coming from.
In particular, I offer the following quote from Gordon Strachan, Scotland manager, on hearing about Darren Fletcher’s return to action:
“I was just thrilled to see Darren back. I was on the train coming up the road and I got a text saying he was getting on. I’m told he got clattered within minutes of going on. Trust me, that would have felt like heaven. He’s been through so much, but he’d have loved that. He’d have been lying there in the mud thinking: ‘How good is this?’”
How good? Brilliant! If you understand that, you can begin to understand; I miss not being able to play football.