1000 Shades of Grey
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Fitter than I thought I was
Flying in the face of the preceding 27 years of evidence, I've joined a football club.

Now, I'd never describe myself as one of those people who was ever much cop at football. My playground years were spent being one of the last left standing against the wall whilst teams were picked. My competitive career being restricted to 45 minutes in the primary school first team, and a run out for the school reserves in their one fixture (a friendly in front of the watching TV cameras - honestly!).

Away from education, I've made appearances in several five and six aside tournaments, and it's fair to say that silverware has never been glimpsed, let alone held aloft.

However, having done almost no exercise since I ran the Great North Run two years ago, I'm somewhat concerned that my inaugaral appearance in the Midland Amateur Alliance League Division Two is fast approaching. Although, having said that I don't expect to feature too often for the side - with more than eleven people to choose from, I'm pragmatic enough to recognise my limitations.

However, not only is there the prospect of the odd game, but also there's the chance to train every week - which means I get to play football, and get fitter, in a fairly structured environment.

Which is what I've been doing.

Unfortunately this has entailed my participation in a number of fitness tests, namely the Bleep Test and the Cooper Test. Neither of which would be near the top in my list of things that I have done and enjoyed.

However, having taken my results and compared them to other standards, I am pleased to report that I am officially fit enough to be: an International Netball Umpire; an International Hockey Umpire and meet the Fire Fighter Selection level.

I'm nearly at the fitness level of a Royal Marine (on day 1 of their training - I suspect they get fitter).

I'm also fitter than the UK women's Basketball and Netball teams were in 1997 (athletically speaking at least).

Not only that but I scored in the Good standard for the Cooper test for my age (and in the Very Good bracket for someone twice my age!)

If I'm honest, I suspect this says more about the relatively low standard of fitness required by all the above organisations and sports teams than it does about my own athletic prowess.

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