I've spent the past seventeen days on a football tour with some wonderful people. I've made new friendships, gotten to know people I only knew superficially beforehand on a deeper more intimate level, and I've been able to reveal parts of myself that I have kept guarded and hopefully not made too many of them shake their heads or mutter "What the fuck!" (snuck my favourite expletive in, let's move on).
As it's a football tour I should tell you about the footballers. There are fifteen of them in total, fourteen lads and Rach who is a very talented female player.
How do I describe these footballers?
Well, there's the Alpha's, the jocks, the creatives. There's the loud ones, the attention seekers, the quiet ones, and the dreamers. There's the die hard footballers, and the ones who play for the fun of it. There's the ones who smell great and the ones who need to put in a bit more effort and their level of awesome would skyrocket. There's the life long friends, and then there's the new besties. There's the warriors, the fighters, the wounded, and the sheep.
Above all the differences and things which separate them, there is a spirit and a strength within them as a team that I've witnessed first hand and that I envy and admire. That dig deep and do it for the team, that keep going - don't give up, and that grunt that comes from a bond forged through uniting in a common cause: to play Football together and to play it well.
The quality training, the strategies, and tactics, they've applied really well and just grown so much, individually and together. They really are a team to be reckoned with now.
I've felt so privileged to have been allowed to share this experience, more so when these wonderful footballers have invited me into their world and I've been able to hang out for a while. These opportunities are so rare and I cherish them when they happen.
And laugh! Oh god, how they've made me laugh. I've roared with laughter and cried tears, barely able to catch my breath, because they've had me completely caught up in some shared joke, or on the outside looking in, or unashamedly eavesdropping.
I'm going to miss them all as the tour ends and we disperse to different parts of the globe to spend the festive season with family and friends.
I have no connection to the football world anymore, so once this tour ends a lot of connections with these people will end along with it. I thank goodness for my addiction to Facebook in this instance and their willingness to accept me.
Those who have wanted to have created connections with me...and I love they've trusted me enough to do that. I get to stay in touch and revisit the connection when I want. I get to see what they get up to, the choices they make in life, big or small. Even the mundane, everyday things like a whinge about study, or life, or whatever.
My curiosity about how things will be for them is huge and I'm grateful they are allowing me to continue to remain connected to them on some level.
You never know I may get the odd coffee date out of it, which I would love I will add (yes, yes I am unashamedly suggesting you SHOULD message me occasionally for a catch up, I'm secretly interesting).