They say that the first puke is the deepest. It growls deep in your guts. It swirls and clogs, heaves and plunges until the stomach cannot take it anymore. It erupts and spews through the throat, out the mouth and into the world. I always feel relief when I vomit. I always feel like it is the end of something old and the beginning of something new.
I have been puking a lot lately. I don’t have an eating disorder or that poxy vomiting bug. No. I have been back pre-season training with the Club. I have rolled back the years and the clock and have been trying to get fit to play GAA again.
It is not how I remember it. And my body is not reacting quite how I would like it to. From the outside I look in OK shape. I have stayed relatively slim over the last seven or eight years. I have gone for jogs and done a few sit ups. I have cut down on the white bread and eat pretty well. But that is the surface level. Underneath the exterior is a rusting old engine.
I am 40. There is no escaping the fact. Most 40 year olds who have given up a sport for 8 years have moved on with their lives. They have businesses, families and empires to run. They don’t have time to indulge fantasies of playing top level sport again. Not only that but they know their time is up. They know that it does not make sense to commit to something which will probably break you.
Yeah. At 40 I realise that my system is getting older. In the 6 weeks I have been back training I have injured my shoulder, ribs and chest. I have puked after training 3 or 4 times. I am battling with the commitment needed to train multiple times a week with lads who are half my age.
I know the road ahead. It is tough and relentless. As a goalkeeper it is unforgiving and the need to perform at peak concentration is something I will need to work on. The need to perform in peak conditioning is something I am working on.
It is not easy…nor did I ever expect it to be. It is weird to try and save a ball and the body just goes a little too slowly. The mind is trying to remember what it was like ten years ago. My muscle memory is reactivating and the synapses in my cerebral cortex are beginning to fire again. It is coming back slowly and I am positive about the year ahead.
I watched Denis Bastick’s promo video he made for AIB and the club championship. In it he says that age is just a number and it’s about what you can contribute. He also comes out with a very poetic couple of lines towards the end:
”My heart can take the pounding, my mind can take the struggle but my body know that this can’t go on forever”.
I know just how he feels.
I am getting fit. I am getting the head back into the right place. I am getting back into the swing of running around muddy pitches in the dark gloom of the Irish Winter. I think I am over the vomiting for now. My system is stepping on through.
I am doing this for the 40 plus year olds. I am doing this to show that it can be done.
I have a lot left to prove and I intend on proving it.