“He’s football crazy, he’s football mad, the football game has robbed him of the wee bit of sense he had” (Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor)

I have never been a fan of the “beautiful game”, despite Douglas’ devotion to Wolverhampton Wanderers, but, during the Euros I felt a compulsion to watch and cheer our amazing young team on to the final.

I was never good at sports, my talents and interests lay elsewhere.  I was born very short-sighted, but this defect wasn’t recognised until I was 15 when I subsequently discovered that my fellow pupils who mysteriously managed to connect racquet and tennis ball weren’t possessed of magical powers.  Netball was easier simply because of the size of the ball, and my height.  Running wasn’t really my thing either, having one leg shorter than the other doesn’t help with balance and speed.  When our games mistress wasn’t looking – and given her apparent contempt for my lack of talent, that was fairly often, I would wander off and search for wildflowers at the edges of the school field.

My self-styled “very much older” brother excelled at cricket, rugby and swimming.  I loved our visits to the local swimming pool where he patiently taught me to at least float rather than sink.

My favourite exercise was to go out on long walks in the countryside with Gretel, my little dachshund, snuffling along beside me.  Together we looked for bluebells, primroses, wild roses, the occasional rabbit and did our best to avoid cows grazing in the meadows.  These wonderful memories are, alas, just that and belong to an idyllic past.

Looking back with a tinge of regret for my lack of sporting aptitude, I recalled Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…” and that is the goal that each one of us in team Jesus can aim for.

God bless you, Carole