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What’s better? A sports bar or a sports complex?
You can imagine that my answer to the question above is a sports bar!
Yet, I was quite athletic when I was young. I played football, handball, and I even did some boxing. But that was a long time ago when I went to school. And I stopped learning in the traditional way a long, long time ago. It was much more interesting to study on my own, at the street school!
I stopped doing sports, and took my place at the sports bar, and many others, when I left Nice at 18 to go and live in Paris. And I embraced a not very healthy existence in the punk-rock environment!
In my opinion, I can’t be the only one to have done that! You, too, must have practiced sports in your youth, and then stopped everything after reaching the legal age to consume alcohol freely in bars and concerts, right?
And so, from 18, I put my elbows on a lot of bars, spending time with friends. In these places of perdition, we talked about our young lives that were just beginning, we were imagining what the world would be like in the future.
But in 1993, at the age of 23, I realised that my life was limited to squatting bars, going to concerts and drinking more than was reasonable. So I decided to become more serious. And yes, I registered with a football club and I started to play again!
I chose this club because the matches were held on Saturday morning around 9 or 10 o’clock. I also chose this club because home games were held at the Porte d’Asnieres (above the ring road) and I lived in Asnieres. And therefore, this obligation to get up early would force me to stay home on Friday night. I told myself that it would already be one night less of drinking and going to bed late.
And yes, as you might expect, my willingness to stay quiet on Friday night did not last long. I quickly resumed my place at the bar or in concerts as before, but instead of spending the morning recovering from the abuse of the day before, I got up painfully early to go and kick a ball! What an idiot I was, wasn’t I?
However, I was the goalkeeper. Which means that I didn’t need to run after the constantly moving ball! But for my teammates, who were real sportsmen on Saturday morning, my goalkeeper’s performances left something to be desired. They often criticized me for not reacting and asked me to dive right or left to try to prevent the ball from entering the net. And I told them that my hangover forbade me to throw myself violently on the ground because if I did I wouldn’t be able to get up!
Obviously, since I was the only one on the team to accept playing in this position, they had no choice and they tolerated my behaviour. Of course, our results were pretty bad. I remember in particular a stinging defeat 12 to 0! Yes, that Saturday morning, I went for the ball 12 times in the bottom of my nets. I would have done better to stay in bed! I note in passing that the attackers bore some responsibility because they were not very good either, even if we still won a few games sometimes!
Nevertheless, from time to time, for lack of money or because I was exhausted, I would wisely stay home the day before a match. This was the case for the last game of my career. Indeed, in 1995, my girlfriend and I decided to go live in Montpellier, a super rock’n’roll city! And therefore, after 2 years of bad but still loyal services, I was going to leave the team and hang up my boots forever.
The last game
This last Saturday morning, I think it was in April 1995, our team went to play on artificial grass pitches located on the outer boulevards to of Aubervilliers.
And we won 4 to 0! It was the first time in 2 years that I didn’t let any balls past me! It was a huge feat and as a last stand, I left the field with the congratulations of my teammates, who eventually might miss me after all! I even had the praise of the opposing team who had been impressed by my reflexes and my dives!
I finished my career as a footballer on a huge performance and with honours! What more could you wish for?
After my installation in the south of France, I didn’t do any more sport at all. I resumed my rhythm of life as it was in Paris, but in bars with friends who had strange accents!
And today, at 50?
I still do some sport, but not football and not with a team. Sometimes I go to the pool to swim laps. I like it. It allows me to think, to relax. It’s a bit like yoga for me. Wet yoga, for sure, but during those moments in the water, in a swimsuit, with a swimming cap that makes me look stupid, and goggles that don’t help me to look less stupid, all alone with myself, I think of my future, my past too, and I try to find the answers to many questions, as well as inspiration to write interesting articles for “Never Mind The Wrinkles”!
I still visit them, but with less attention than before, and, while drinking vodka, I talk about my life to Russian friends who are curious know why I, a Frenchman, and Cheryl, an Australian, live in Moscow!
And what is your sporting experience? Did you break records? Detail your achievements in the comments below!
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