“Chilly for June!?” It’s definitely ‘cool in the kilt or kaftan’ but perfect temperature for shorts & outdoor fitba. Alas, last Wednesday’s 5’s astro turf tussle was the end of an era for me. My beloved dimpled shoes that stuck to the turf like limpets gave up the ghost, leaking a massive side smile beyond superglue redemption. For well over 10 years these laced lovelies have served me well with a few deft touches, mistimed tackles, countless goals and many more misses.

Forced to release such dear ‘sole friends’ has me nostalgic and grateful. I got them cheap in a sale and they owe me nothing, but I almost feel guilty putting them in the bin. Someone suggested I frame them, but no I’ve saved the laces and left them to landfill.

If I’d known how resilient and re-useable these boots would be I’d have bought two pairs to last me till my transfer to ‘walking football’. As it is I’ve bought similar Adidas ‘Predators’ which hopefully will see me into reTYREment.

The late great Jim Bircham continues to be my inspiration, playing with us till he was 70. With only one eye, a solid frame and selective hearing, Jim could jink past you with skill and aplomb to score soundly in the corner, “What a guy!”

For sure, the older you get the harder it is to recover from injury and to
psych yourself up to venture out in wild wintry windy and wet weather, but oh the joy of playing with friends my own age, our sons, and teenagers 40 years our younger. For 33 years the Fullarton Foulers have played 9-10pm on Wednesdays, in the Magnum till its demise, and in Greenwood Academy till Covid took us outdoors to Kilmarnock’s Soccer World.

‘Holy habits’ is where I’m getting to. Worked into our weeks we all have regular routines, some of them healthy, others maybe unhealthy. Meals (when, what, how), TV viewing, time kept for different activities like friendship, family, sport, leisure, work, spiritual devotion & prayer, worship, holidays, retreats, etc. Next to my Bible the most important book is my diary with which I can plan and carve out time for holy habits. The truth ‘Use it or lose it’ applies here. I’m so grateful: for the health & strength that allows me to swim, cycle, and play fitba; for disciplines of spiritual devotion; for work, family, and friendships; for power naps which help compensate for being up 5+ times in the night; for God’s Love and purposes which energise and encourage daily life and living. Life is full and challenging, and it is holy habits and routines which protect and prosper it. Love and live well my friends. Be sure to prioritise and work into your life habits that multiply blessing to you and others. Here’s hoping these new soccer shoes don’t give me blisters!