Get back in the game, just like ‘the good old days’

John Inverdale, walking sports ambassador at Just Get Active

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The problem with ‘the good old days’ is that in most cases they probably weren’t quite as good as you remember. Was it really better to be waiting half an hour for a bus home, when actually a few years later you had enough money for a car and got home in five minutes? Try listening to some of the electro music that was raved about in the 80s, and be honest with yourself. I mean… really?

Your sporting days

There’s one area where you’d probably find universal agreement though, among those of us who were lucky enough to play team sports in our earlier years. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life as I did in those halcyon days of being part of a sports club. A team. A group of individuals all with a common goal in the sporting arena.

Some of you may have trained hard and others may have thought about training hard, but opted for the pub instead. You might have played at school, for the county or just enjoyed a casual kickabout in the park. Whether it was a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday morning, or even a Wednesday night, reminiscing about team spirit brings back so many good memories. The smile on your face says it all - those really were ‘the good old days.’

When we give up playing team sports, it can leave an empty space in our lives that needs to be filled. So, how do you replace that feeling of being a musketeer? How do you find that team spirit again?

Well, guess what? Team sports are back. Or at least they can be, just at a slightly slower pace.  

How can walking sports help?

One day, you’ll suddenly get to a different stage in your life. An opportunity to get involved with team sports reappears, albeit in a new guise. You may have heard about walking sports and dismissed them immediately. They’re seen as different, like they’re “not the real thing”. But if that’s your view, then think again.

Walking sports are your chance to turn back the clock to a time when you joined like-minded people and gathered on a court or a pitch playing sport, enjoying exercise and laughing. Whether it’s netball, football or hockey, they present a chance for us to revisit the days of belonging to a team that shaped so many of our formative years - experiencing the feelings of togetherness and community that come with it. It’s just the same as ‘the good old days’.

Afterwards, you can go for a beer, or tea with a nice slice of cake, and laugh a bit more. You can meet new people and form friendships at a time in life when most of us don’t.

So, why not give it a go? Get your sweat on, or perspire just a little, and rediscover the joy of friendly competition. Maybe you’ll rediscover the twin imposters of victory and defeat and treat the two just the same.

You might surprise yourself!

In our self-deceiving minds, we were probably much better in times past than we actually were, but I know there’s still that hint of a Rodney Marsh or Mary Peters in most of us. You’ll score a goal or take a wicket, and in a momentary flash you’re 25 again. 

It may be just a flicker, but you’ll smile inside and out. On a walking basketball court, let’s face it none of us will be Michael Jordan, but once in a while you might hit a basket that even he would be proud of. You’ll laugh, and everyone else will say ‘how the hell did you do that?’. It will be as though the Tardis has landed on court and you’re momentarily hurtling back to days gone by. You’ll have the time of your life and get fitter in the process.

Walking sport might be a new beginning, but it’s based on an old theme. Why not give it a go? Now’s the time to recapture what you love most about sport. You’re only young twice.

If you want to find a walking sports group in your area, try the Just Get Active Activity Finder here.