It was my first game for Ayr United, Walking Football 2nd team. Tournament, East Ayrshire Walking Football. Venue Stewarton.
The excitement is not in the selection, no it is donning an official Ayr United, The Honest Men's strip.
The draw saw us in a 4 team group, winner to play in the Final, no semi, winner takes all.
A warm up on a cold Ayrshire afternoon was a jog around the astro turf arena. 3 pitches, stretching across, bloody enormous. There had been a discussion on the 3 touch rule as the pitches were 'bloody enormous', however Walking fitba rules clearly state '3 touches'. So be it.
The Hearts from Edinburgh fielded 3 teams, they were and are serious players in Scottish Walking Fitba.
I stopped to watch one game. Serious, you bet. Shouting and swearing, of course. Jostling, you bet.
One guy demonstrates to the ref, ' You better do something about him ref '. Not a question but a plea. The ref turns away and the complainant gets a boot on his leg, mind you he doesn't bat an eyelid.
Our first game; we win 1-0 and I come on as a sub. five minutes later and I am attempting to replace my arm in it's socket, the pain not helped by the freezing wind. We win 1-0 and the next game is against a Hearts team.
They do indeed take it serious, one guy especially. At this point can I point out that the lower age limit is 60. This one particular guy is well over 60 and as a physical specimen he is less than fit, more beer belly than 6 pack belly. Moan and shout at the ref, he then scores and politely accepts the applause of the 20,000 Jam Tarts he believes in his mind are watching from the terracing.
The Hearts win 1-0 deservedly, they do take Walking Fitba seriously and they eventually reach the final, we win the next game 2-0 but need the other Ayr United team to win 2-0 against the Hearts when they haven't even scored a single goal.
Anyway, it turns out the moaning Jam Tart is on an official last warning from no less a person than the saintly Anne Budge, Hearts owner who has had him in for a good telling off, in perso.
I was a reluctant conscript to Walking Fitba, now I love it. Next tournament, bring on the Hearts.