Andrew Johnston

April 05, 2018

I LIKE country football clubs.

I was going to write this column last week, but certain things happened that grabbed my attention instead.

But I do, I love country football clubs.

I like seeing a bloke show up to fill the water bottles at training just because he loves to do it.

I love volunteers in the canteen who are there from the start of the day until the last patron has gone home.

There is something special about being involved.

I always wanted to get back into football.

As I have said in this column before, I was a mediocre at best player when I was younger.

Back then, I was substantially lighter and had better knees.

So as you could imagine, I’m in fairly poor condition at the moment.

But still, I wanted to have a run.

I spoke to a friend of mine about this and he said ‘‘well, I know some blokes, want me to give them your number?’’

Why not I thought, but also didn’t think to much of it.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago, and I walked into work to a message on my phone.

It was Girgarre Football Club.

And they wanted me to come have a run.

Now this wasn’t out of desperation for players — they have near 60 on the list and I’m probably ranked 60th.

It was because they’re a community club who like having people around.

I got told ‘‘we have a lot of players so we can’t promise anyone a game, but we won’t turn anyone away. We ask you to give us your best and be committed to the club.’’

That sounded like something I could do.

I went to training that night, even dragged the Kiwi sitting next to me along before nearly I died during the first warm up.

But, I had a great day.

When you haven’t played in a long time, there is something great about just having a football in your hands again.

I have a Sherrin on my desk in the office for this reason. I love having a footy nearby so I can grab it when I’m thinking.

But the best part for me was my new teammates.

Everyone introduced themselves, they gave me good advice, talked me up when I was struggling (which happened A LOT in fairness).

These guys were three weeks out from round one and not only did they accept the new bloke was here, but helped me to find my feet.

I’m very grateful for that.

Suddenly I have goals.

I used to hate the gym.

I got bored because I was just working out to be fit.

Now I’m going to the gym because I want to be fitter for footy.

There is suddenly an end goal, and it’s motivating me to be better.

I’m a long way away from playing.

I’m incredibly unfit, but I know I’m getting better.

My skills are fairly average, but I know as I train more, I’ll get better with that too.

I’m very grateful for that call.

I’m grateful for this club for swinging the doors open and letting me in.

Now, the hard work is for me to return that kindness.

I’m ready.

Up the Roos.

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