Above the oozing mud and below the smog of cloud separating earth from what ever fatal obstacles space holds, there is an arena.Through the proud gates that stand tall I see visions of memorable moments blurring in and out each time I breathe. The crowd is cheering and the lads are hurting as they trot over the field trying to stay standing while the bottom of their boots are caked with mud. I picture a younger me, scoring under the posts while the other team drops their heads. I lose the vision.
The violence of the weather is relentless as it tosses me around just like its a creature the boys and I will have to fight. The heavy winters air is hard to breathe in. It throws a breeze up and down your body which makes the ends of your hair stand up during your exhale. Gusts of the icy chilled wind triggers the nerves as I slowly wonder towards the club rooms. Inching closer by the second every step creates more nerves as they rip through my stomach. Entering the club rooms there is a distinct smell of sweat, speights, darts and mud all mixed into one. The nasty stench burns the hairs in my nostrils while breathing in. The wind lashes at me I can hear it trying to burst through the club rooms and attack me with all its might. It is like a mutt that is tied up to its kennel lashing out at its target but can never get there. Every time the mutt lashes out the creaky ancient wood of the kennel weakens just like the club room does while the wind trashes it’s self at me. The weather is unforgiving. While I step out side everything I touch is damp and bitter but I don’t bother because the satisfaction of running my hand over the condensation filled rails while the skin between my index finger and thumb that builds up with water is irresistible. Before I step out onto what ever is left of the field the wind stops, the clouds clear. Everything is still, everything is silent. The whistle blows.
The whistle blows. My throat is dry and all the laughing doesn’t help. The lack of water drains me but the disobeying beams of the sun that still break through my cap frying my vulnerable face. Beyond the boundaries of the fields I see a large lake with mountains and islands that peep above the waters surface gasping for breath and just before that is a road. As much as I can feel them I can see them along the road in the distance. Heat waves. They fill the road with what looks like water shimmering as each time I move my eyes the ponds move place instantly almost like they are following my line of sight every time I look around. The sweat drips down my forehead and reaches my eye as I launch out for the touch bearly being able to see.
The lake is a magnet as it pulls us towards it as if it is a safe house from the sun. Every step I take I can feel the long green lushesness of the grass latch onto my boots. The white out lines stick out like walls not allowing me to leave the field. At first the ball is dry and grippy, the longer I hold onto it the wetter it gets because of the sweat that builds up on my hands turning the ball into my worst nightmare. Each time I dive for the corner there is sharp pains of skin getting ripped off on the end of my elbows and knees. Game over.
All of a sudden the water hits my hands then my face then the rest of my body while my toes are the last thing that is exposed to air. The water is a life saver as it washes away the sweat and hides my fried skin from the nasty sun. The water feels thin while I break the surface and make my way back to the shore. Walking back towards my clothes I lose all weakness in my legs as I finally realise that the pebbles are melting my feet. I slowly but carefully jog my way to grass trying not to make a scene of myself. My reaction was slow. Everything seems to feel slow. The sound of the waves crashing a shore is slow taking three or more seconds for each one to come in. The cars driving past seem to take for ever and even the sound of sand flies buzzing past your ears seem to be lethargic. The aggressive weather has definitely won this battle.