In fact, it goes deeper than that. During school sport lessons I languished among the dregs. My weekly exercise was against the kids with glasses and breathing problems, who would rather pick daisies than get muddy. It was fair enough: I was one of them.
This means that for 30 years I’ve never represented a team, I’ve never been in a team talk, and I’ve never felt the pressure of wanting to do well for my teammates. Sporty people may not understand this, but City 2 versus Didcot Dragons 2 was a big deal to me.
So that’s the apprehension but what about the pride? Well, the two are linked. I’ve never pulled on a team shirt before so it means a lot to me that I can. I feel proud that I can wear the number 12, which I chose because my daughter was born in 2012. That pride is the reason I drove through Friday afternoon traffic on a mercy mission to pick up the shirts for the whole team. I wanted my own, and getting everyone else’s was a bonus.
But it’s one thing to buy a shirt, it’s quite another to earn it. So how was the match?
Well, we lost but I was pretty happy with how I did. I felt I froze in attack and struggled to put into practise what we’d done in training; but I still managed to score a good long-range goal – a carbon copy of the one I mentioned in my first blog post – and nearly punched the wall in celebration. I then apologised for over-celebrating. It was most ungentlemanly.
In defence I made some good blocks, a few interceptions, and made sure to keep eye contact with my attacker. I also followed him everywhere, including when he went to get water and talk to their coach. If there wasn't a final whistle then I'd have probably jumped on the bus and followed him home. In the end he probably thought I was stalking him, but I don't care. I'd rather look stupid for following than not following.
So there were some positives but also plenty of room for improvement. I can’t wait to get back into training on Thursday.