I usually write posts on here in the afternoon or evening ready for publication the following morning.

This time though, it wouldn’t have made any sense to do that, because I wouldn’t have known what to write.

The jury was still out. Overnight deliberations.

Although we lost, physically, the first football game post knee surgery went well last night – but it’s always the morning after that the truth really comes out, isn’t it?

The great news is that I’m writing this post from a static bike at the gym. I’m cycling through Monument Valley. So things can’t be that bad, can they? And yes, I’m taking it easy because yes, I am a bit stiff here and there, but the knee is certainly no worse than anywhere else.

I am unscathed.

Thanks to the guys for taking me back so readily and with such open arms. Not that I ever expected anything else.

Next week, we go again.

Team talk

We lost our 5-a-side football match last night. These things happen. It’s never great when they do, but there’s more to life than winning.
There was a cricket match on at Newlands and we were a bit short on players. No-one is saying that those two things were connected, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention that suspicions were voiced.

Anyway, at half time, there was only one goal in it and there was, as they say, all to play for.
We huddled as the coach called us in for the rousing half time team talk.

He began:

Listen, guys.
We’re a goal behind.
They are younger, fitter and faster than us.
We are older, fatter and slower than them.
They have four substitutes.
We only have one.

It made for difficult listening. Not least because it was all true.
We knew that we were up against it.
But here came the motivational bit, the clarion call to action, the stirring, inspiring conclusion to the monologue. The words which would carry us triumphantly through the trials and tribulations of the upcoming twenty minutes:

Except… that was it. There was no more. At that point, he wandered off the field, Heineken in hand.

Funny thing is, it didn’t really sink in at the time. It was only in the post-mortem after the game that we realised just how lacking in encouragement the team talk had been. That said, in no way am I blaming the lack of half time positivity for the disappointing result.

But I have to say that it certainly didn’t help.

Another hot footy session

We played football this morning. Just a 10am kickaround to blow the cobwebs away before the, nothing too strenuous this early in the year – we’re not stupid.

Or are we? Because there were definitely echoes of that fateful day as I jumped out of the car at Century City.  I’d left home about 15 minutes earlier at 22ºC and with a pleasant southeaster blowing. Upon my arrival at the venue, I was already seeing 28ºC and there was not a breath of wind. An eerie stillness prevailed, almost as if someone were waiting for 10 slightly unfit white blokes to die from heatstroke.

Or something.

We played: some admittedly more than others. Most (all?) admittedly more than me. As I repeated often – safe in the knowledge that there’s basically no way it can ever happen here – stick me on a field in -2ºC and I’ll run for days. But I’m far too European to be able to sprint around a 5-a-side court for 75 minutes in the hot African sun and actually survive.

There can’t have been a lot of sprinting then (as I’m sure my teammates will happily testify), because I am still alive.

I came home and stood in a cold shower, trying desperately to balance the urgent need to reduce my body temperature to something resembling normality with the precarious water shortages in Cape Town.
The former won out in the end, and I emerged somewhat wrinkled but thankfully much cooler, several hours later.

So was this The Worst Idea Larry Ever Had II™? No, no it wasn’t anywhere close to that bad. That day and its consequences will live long in the memory, whereas this one will simply go down as an hour that could have been… more comfortably spent.

A braai this afternoon – accompanied by copious amounts of Energade – will surely mean that I’m in tip-top condition to face the rigours of lab work (and possibly even the rigors of a body in extreme shock) in the morning.

I’ll let you know.

Goodbye Gianluca

Oh dear. A final appeal to be allowed to finally appeal is turned down:

 A private company, which built the R2 million Gianluca Vialli Soccer Centre at Sea Point High School, has lost an application for leave to appeal a Western Cape High Court judgment ordering it to cease operating the facility.

This means the centre has to stop operating by Monday.

Emilel Investments 19 completed the construction of the centre last June.
With the blessing of the school principal, Emilel forked out the funds to turn the school’s unused, dilapidated tennis courts into two new five-a-side, Fifa-approved astroturf football pitches and a modern clubhouse.
The biggest earner was a friendly corporate league in which companies’ five-a-side teams competed. A weekend market operated by businessman David van Rensburg was also introduced.

However, residents around the school lodged an application to stop the operation of the facility, saying it contravened the city’s zoning regulations and constituted a common law nuisance because of the timing of activities, loud noise and parking problems.

In September, Judge André le Grange found the city’s consent for the facility was necessary. He gave Emilel and Van Rensburg until 6pm on December 12 to stop operating and to consider their options.
On Tuesday, Emilel applied for leave to appeal the ruling.

It’s sad, because this was a great, well-maintained facility on a patch of land which was previously completely derelict. But I do have some sympathy with the local residents as well: 5-a-side football isn’t exactly the quietest of sports – we tend to bring some passion and some volume each Tuesday and Thursday evening.
Fortunately, this year’s “biggest earner” (this a laughable statement, by the way) leagues had already finished.

Anyway, it looks like we’re going to have to take our balls and play with them elsewhere.