Walking football has been the butt of plenty of jokes.
I’ve made them myself as I trudge off the pitch on a Sunday morning at the World of Football. And, yes, the gag is usually that someone - sometimes me - plays the game already, even though they’re supposed to be running.
That’s all part of the banter and camaraderie that comes with playing team sport. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Some of the guys I’ve played alongside every week for years don’t know some important things about my life - like the age or name of my kids - but in other ways they know me better than almost anyone. They know, for instance, that I rarely give up and that I have a long fuse but it does very occasionally have an end...
When the day comes to hang up my boots - hopefully many years from now - I will miss seeing them as much as the sport and exercise.
I imagine then I will join a local walking football team. There will be one near me, as it’s now one of the country’s fastest growing sports. I don’t want to stop playing, get less active or miss being part of a team. I do love the team jokes, but I hope they don’t stop anyone taking seriously a great sporting success story.