Today was my seven-a-side team’s first game in three weeks. And for the first time since August, we not only had a full side, but also subs! Two subs! Who could come on the field and replace us if we got winded or injured! And we wouldn’t have to play down a man or two!
I could run around and not have to worry about saving my breath for later in the game. I could walk off the field to examine my knee, which used to have skin on it, without having to worry about putting my team at a disadvantage. When I got dizzy after a twisting, turning run past one defender down the touchline, past another defender along the goal line, and past the keeper for my third goal of the game, I could afford to walk off the field and wait for the world to stop spinning, my mind at ease. And when I sprinted most of the way down the field for my fourth goal, I could, without breaking stride, sprint over to the sideline and sub out so I could reinflate my lung.
We won, 5-2, but the highlight of the day was being able to watch the game for a few minutes at a time from the bench. Those fleeting moments of recuperation were like nectar and ambrosia with a side of manna. It was beautiful.