Football. It used to be an essential part of my week be it playing five a sides or going along to watch my team of choice on a Saturday.
It wasn’t just for the action or the atmosphere at the games, although they helped. It was for the social interactions.
The couple of hours spent before and most likely after a match drinking pints, eating crisps and sharing priceless comedy banter, discussing tactics, team line ups and just why the SFA has it in for us this week.
Then at the games themselves taking turns getting in the mince pies and Bovril at half-time, the obligatory brown sauce.
There was always something, I dunno, comforting about it – the familiar routine.
It was just what you do at games.
For various reasons I’ve slowly drifted away from the tradition though, and the last game I saw was about a season and a half ago.
So when I found a rare Saturday free at the weekend there, I bought a late ticket and went back.
It was enjoyable enough, but being last minute and because of the Two Fat Laddies project, didn’t bother rolling up to the pub.
I wouldn’t be drinking anyway and by that point the lads would have been three sheets to the wind.
I’ll confess, I treated myself to a Bovril, but managed to resist the pies – despite the claim that they were ‘lower fat’.
Thing is, and it was a surprise to me, I wasn’t bothered.
Let’s face it at most grounds, the half time pie is more about tradition than taste.
I mulled over the prospect of a wee hauf afterwards though, even getting as far as walking past the pub doors. However I pledged to stay off the hard stuff this January and there’s only a week or so to go.
There was a downside to this though – it wasn’t as much fun.
My team won, our city rivals lost.
Yet there was no pints in hand celebrating a fine day out with friends.
Which in itself just might have an upside.
Not one of my old footie strips fit me now. None.
Which poses a problem as I’ve recently been invited to make a return to five a sides after a long, long gap.
So I’ll be making do with grotty old t-shirts, not a brand spanking new jersey.
I’m not so much going for the retro look as just hoping to take to the stage where I can wear one of the old classics if I so choose.
Maybe then I’ll think about forking out on a strip that whose wise doesn’t start with X.
So that when Saturday comes I’ll be able to have the odd pint again if I want to, without the fear of paying the penalty in pounds.