Why I love . . . Five-a-side football
‘There’s something very calming about playing a group sport’
Danny Phelan: The physical benefits of regular exercise are great, but the social aspects are equally as important to me
I grew up playing football. Lunch breaks at school, on the local green afterwards, any free time my friends and I had was shared with a football. When I moved to Dublin the opportunities to have a kick-about were suddenly few and far between, and for a decade I forgot how much I loved playing the game.
Three years ago a friend of mine asked if I fancied a game of five-a-side as the group he plays with were a body short. I reluctantly accepted. I was worried about my fitness, and nervous about playing with a group of strangers, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’m now a regular in the group. We play every Wednesday, and there are always new people joining the group, but nobody ever really leaves. The players range from 18 years old to 50, and the games are competitive in a casual way. Nobody screams at you if you make a mistake, but there are plenty who will cheer if you score a screamer of a volley!
The physical benefits of regular exercise are great, but the social aspects are equally as important to me. As someone who works irregular hours, Wednesday nights have become a real anchor for me in establishing a routine.
There’s something very calming about playing a group sport. You can forget about office politics and everyday stresses and just live in the moment for that precious hour every week. I’ve made lots of great friends through the game. We socialise regularly, and we have an awards ceremony every December which is one of the highlights of my year.
If you’re a fan of football and miss the joy of a friendly game, it’s easy to find one if you keep an eye/ear out. It could be one of the best things you ever do.