Stay With the Men, Let Go of Football

Saturday 1 September, 2001

A late breakfast followed by appraisal work with George, Sunil and Calvin. They chatted about the events so far and I typed them up. It was an effective session. Productive, efficient and empowering. In the early evening we all went for a walk. By this time Robert had returned from his solitary day out. He had separated himself from the group because of last night’s events, when he really needed to be with us. Ishwar had felt the same but had made an effort to make contact with us all in spite of his mood. We sat on the rocks listening to the sea and watching the sun set before returning to the hotel for the football (Germany 1 England 5).

All day I had avoided the hype surrounding the event and had remained calm – as I had done at Francis’s for the same fixture in June 2000. However, as I entered the hotel 10 minutes before kick-off, I felt the butterflies and the excitement of a big game. I managed to remain calm for the whole of the first half but became gradually more excited as the goals flew in. At the end of the game I really did not know what to do with myself. After an innocent chat with Ishwar I realised that my uncertainty was due to a new experience – I would usually indulge myself completely, and to extremes, in post-match analysis and euphoria, but this time I was letting the game go as soon as it was over. This is what I have to do, not just with each game, but with the sport itself – let it go.


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