A Pre-Season Poem
Panting, puffing and breathing in sharp thick air on a cold Tuesday December evening.
Back bent with your hands over your numb knees supporting yourself up.
It’s bitterly cold but your body blistering hot.
The sweat trickles from your brow and drips onto the frozen grass.
You wipe your head with the sleeve of your Skins thermal top and look behind you to see your comrades follow in suit.
You see them bursting from cone to cone like they were being chased by demented demons.
A mirage of different coloured jerseys representing different counties but the O’Neil’s crest remains the same on them all, banding us together.
They call it football but there isn’t a ball in sight.
Your red ears are pierced with the sounds of a whistle and a mixture of panting and swearing.
Your body aches as your mind screams “no more” and yet you find your legs taking you forward to the back of the line for more punishment.
Steam rises of your body as you claim to your team mates that you can do no more.
You know you’re lying.
Just as you know you’re going to do it all again on Thursday.
Because this is the part no one see’s, this is the part where championships are truly won, where promotion is achieved and where relegation is avoided.
The pain you feel now will be replaced with muscle, with a sense of purpose and an insurance that you will win because you know you deserve to win.
As the training gets harder you get stronger, faster and more powerful.
Nobody outside the club gets why you do it, but they don’t need to.
You don’t do it for them after all; you do it for those running next to you.
Just as they do it for you.