Field marshal


When I was preparing for my weekend trip to Sheffield I did not think to pack any sunscreen. I was too busy remembering to pack a walking stick.

After three and half hours in the car I needed the stick to stand upright because my aching back was seat-shaped. After three and half hours on the astroturf touchline my face was pink and glowing. I’m pretty adept at getting sunburnt, but I didn’t expect Sheffield in early March to be a hotspot.

Teenage daughter may have been a bit embarrassed by her hobbling, red-faced father as she played her sport, but she did a good job of ignoring me. This is possibly because I got bored watching the training session and wandered off around the nearby pitches picking up bits of litter and plastic bottles with the end of my stick. It’s amazing how much litter gets left behind after Sunday morning football matches.

From a distance I probably looked like an eccentric old man, walking around the deserted pitches, muttering to myself and spearing Gatorade bottles. From close up I did not look so old.

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