When you move your entire life 6000 miles… from home, it can be a bit of a wrench. And that’s putting it mildly. Uprooting yourself and everything else from all that is near, dear and known to you and transplanting it to somewhere way, way out of your comfort zone is no fun – despite the rewards on offer should the move be successful.
And so it was I moved to SA and struggled to settle, despite the best laid plans of Mrs 6k, her friends and family and the dear, dear Department of Home Affairs who made it abundantly clear that they would love me to hang around as long as I kept filling in forms and handing over money.
One of the things that made life a whole lot easier was joining up with The Firm. Now, this isn’t some scary Tom Cruise film whereby your company takes over your life, this is a football team. Because there’s nothing better than social football to get you meeting nice people, getting some exercise, drinking some beers and kicking seven bells of crap out of the oppostion on a Tuesday evening.
The Firm is often labelled as The Best Idea Larry Ever Had™, Larry being the guy in charge who had the idea of converting a group of Fantasy Footballists into a crack squad of 7-a-side footballers. The mix is just right: a hint of youth, a tablespoon of experience and a dash of competitiveness, all topped off with a dreamy helping of enjoyment.
We play every week; most we win, some we lose – occasionally we’ll bring home a trophy for our troubles. It’s perfection.
But then, if The Firm was The Best Idea Larry Ever Had™, the idea that Larry had on Sunday was probably The Worst Idea Larry Ever Had™. The plan, as usual, was to have a bit of a run out on a Sunday morning down at the Greek club. And hour of 5 on 5, whites vs coloureds (Shirts, people. Shirts) ahead of spending the rest of the day with family, on the beach or flopped on the couch in front of some Premier League action. But there was no slot free at the Greek club that morning until 11. And it was when Larry was told this that Larry had The Worst Idea Larry Ever Had™.
Cool. We’ll take it!
Holy crap. What a mistake.
Pulling into the car park at ten to, I noted that it was 36°C on my car’s thermometer. In the shade.
As I stepped out of my airconditioned comfort out into the Green Point sunshine, I was met by a wall of thick, still, hot air.
Some sort of sense of self-preservation should probably have kicked in here. But it didn’t. And so, armed only with several litres of cold water and a willingness to kick some balls, we headed out into the heat of the almost midday full sun.
It was horrible. One of the worst footballing experiences of my life. Within 2 minutes of running around, I was gasping, drenched through with sweat and feeling dizzy and nauseous. These, even by Cape Town standards, were extreme conditions. The ball wasn’t even flying through the air properly. I felt truly awful.
Some sort of sense of self-preservation should probably have kicked in here. But it didn’t. And so, with a couple of breaks, we continued to toil for an hour. What utter, utter idiots.
It killed us. I have heard no positive comment come out of the camp since the game finished. In fact, as one of the other protagonists pointed out last night – I’ve heard very little from anyone. He and I may indeed be the only survivors.
It literally took me two hours to cool down when I got home. Yesterday afternoon, I vomited twice, drank a case full of energy drinks and took a whole packet of Imodium and I’m still completely broken. I’m left frantically looking for some sort of Reset button for my body. Does anyone have the instruction manual, please?
Thing is, I’ve learned nothing from this experience. When the shout comes for next Sunday’s game, I won’t consider the weather forecast. I’ll be there and I’ll probably almost kill myself again.
So there you have it. If you’re looking to try and settle down in a foreign country, join a social football team and see if you can completely destroy your body on a hot Sunday lunchtime.