I’ve been determined to play some sort of sport out here, and with no hockey to speak of in these here parts I managed to join the local football team having been introduced by a co-teacher at one of my schools. It was all very official to begin with and had to get a certificate which set me back a whole 300 Won (about 17p).

I’d been taken to one of the games a couple of weekends ago where they’d tried to get me to play. With no footy shoes to play in I said it wasn’t possible this time but I’d happily watch and more importantly check out the standard. They wouldn’t have it and out came about six pairs for me to try on. No chance. Size 11 feet do not go into size 8’s no matter how hard you try and squeeze them in. There was lots of tutting and disappointment from the rest of the team but they decided it was fair enough.

Last weekend my shoes had not arrived from home so I went along to the next game ready to disappoint them again. They’d guessed this might happen as a slightly larger pair of boots were thrown at my feet. I tried them on. They weren’t comfortable at all but they would do the job.

I began to get a little nervous as my co-teacher kept telling everyone “Rooney, Rooney” and pointing at me which either means he thinks I look like a potato or he was expecting my football prowess to be something special.

It wasn’t.

My first touch was a header after a great cross into the box. It glanced off my face and onto my shoulder then flew miles over the bar. There were lots of murmers between the Korean opposition which I took to mean “Don’t worry boys, he’s pretty rubbish”. I gave a sheepish sort of look to the players on my team, they seemed really enthusiastic surprisingly. I managed a couple of shots throughout the game but none to write home about and it stayed 0-0.

I redeemed myself slightly by setting up the winning goal about 5 minutes before the end and it finished 1-0. I was knackered and ached until the following Thursday.

Bring on the next game.

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