culpability strain

It was hard not to feel culpable yesterday, disappointing in a new way.  We’d been solid and organised for over an hour, my central defensive partner was a robust player I trusted, we’d both had decent games in an evenly contested match which remained goalless.  Then I extended my legs to chase an opposition striker.  Quad muscles stretched and moaned, snagged painfully.  It was the same weakness and set of muscles which forced me off several weeks ago, and which I believed I’d recovered from.  Shortly after I went to ground in a tackle, again overstretching the same set.  And so it incrementally became more painful to run flat out, rather than in one smash.  I could trot about with tolerable pain, but snapping into a sprint to keep with a nippy striker soon became a no-no. 

A cross was whipped in, my man dodged and left me, I physically couldn’t turn and run to get near him – whereas in the first half his small frame posed little threat.  He got on the end of the cross and scored.  A few minutes later a gangly athletic striker collected the ball on the left and went on a run, beat our full back, who I’d tried to arc in behind and cover, failed then found myself swearing in frustration and pain.  The striker outstripped me with ease and popped the ball in the near post.  Two nil.  Having only eleven players, I agreed to move myself to centre forward, where I loped around ineffectively.  For over an hour we’d been a far cry from the team who were so comprehensively demolished last week: compact, organised and able, we moved the ball around ok in the midfield, despite similar impotence up front.  It may sound arrogant to think I was that influential on the goals and the whole game’s outcome.  In this instance though, it seemed the obvious turning point.  The damage was done.

I left straightaway after the game, not even bothering to shower: grouchy and disappointed at the recurring injury and its impact, unlike the flat-out depression which immediately followed the week previous – but which soon turned to a nonchalant, Guinness-fuelled ambivalence.  Yesterday was different.  To be so solid and come quite close, and to feel so responsible after having a strong hour my best of the season.  Not to mention the new fitness doubts.  Could this be the beginning of an ongoing struggle?  Arse.

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