Interview with Paddy, one of the Madeira Walking Footballers who recently joined our MWF team.
(MWF) Hi Paddy. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you here for our MWF blog. Can you start telling us about yourself? For example, did you play sports before?
(Paddy) My name is Paddy and I’m from Yorkshire, UK. A former rugby player with multiple health issues, I retired (early) over here about three years ago. I’m a baby of the group still being in the bottom half of my fifties.
(MWF) Have you played walking football before?
(Paddy) No, I never played any football before MWF, and I’d never even heard of walking football either, I’m a born and bred rugby player who had to stop playing sports a few years back, but MWF has certainly changed all that for me.
Walking football’s ability to let you interact and participate at your own pace and skill level has turned out to be ideal. I’d miss it now, so would my mobility.Paddy
(MWF) Why did you think Walking Football would be interesting to play here on Madeira Island?
(Paddy) TBH I had no idea what I was (literally) walking into when I decided to just go along and check it out. But after the active lifestyle of renovating a property here, I realised my new retired life had got a little sedentary. So I needed something new to keep me active.
Walking football’s ability to let you interact and participate at your own pace and skill level has turned out to be ideal. I’d miss it now, so would my mobility.
(MWF) And as for the other team members… what do you think of them? Did you meet new friends while playing Walking Football?
(Paddy) My team mates!?! the best way to describe this bunch is…..
A Yorkie, a Scouse, a Mancunian, a Creole, and a handful of locals and Southerners walk into a bar! And the coach despaired 🙂
For some of us the exercise doesn’t stop on the pitch as our regular “weights sessions” after practice can last several hours, this is when we do light weights, lots of reps, with nothing heavier than a beer bottle or a Poncha.
(MWF) Has your social life changed since you started playing, and if so, how?
(Paddy) I’m a introverted extrovert, so it takes a lot for me to actually go out and meet any new people, but this lot are so welcoming and friendly, and dare I say it slightly bonkers, they’ve helped me settle in surprisingly easily.
(MWF) You played in the first tournament on Madeira Island. What was your experience?
(Paddy) Wet! Very wet. It p….. poured it down all day however the Madeiran spirit lifted us up as they danced and sang in the rain. There was some football played too, which was nice, we didn’t win but hey ho! Next time.
(MWF) What does it mean to you to live on Madeira Island? And the people and their culture?
(Paddy) Anyone can move to Madeira, but to live here, truly live here, takes active participation in the community, Madeira is a beautiful mongrel nation encompassing peoples from all places and walks of life, being part of that community is something very special. We’ve had community football sessions with local youths, people with disabilities, etc and it’s been great to be able to put something back into the local community while doing something you enjoy.
(MWF) Speaking of walking football again,… do you find it hard NOT to run when you play?
(Paddy) Seriously Don? You’ve seen me play, not running is the least of my issues when playing any sort of football.
(MWF) And are you a competitive player/person? Or are you just for the fun part? Or both?
(Paddy) Competition is fun, and winning always makes the beer taste better, but the thing I like about this lot is we do our best, we like to win but don’t sulk or bicker if we lose, there’s always another day.
(MWF) What advice would you give someone eager to play but nervous about approaching a club or taking part in a walking football session for the first time?
(Paddy) To quote Nike; “just do it!”
(MWF) How do your friends and family feel about your return to play in a sport at your age?
(Paddy) no comment, except, playing ‘old folk football’ I have taken a lot of flack from my kids and former team mates, but I don’t care, it gets me moving and meeting interesting people, I love it.
(MWF) As MWF started last year, what is your take on the organization so far? And would you like to get more involved with certain MWF tasks?
(Paddy) Nice attempt to try and get me to volunteer for stuff Don. But after decades of running teams and being at the sharp end, I have complete faith in ‘the management’ to keep doing what they’re doing and keep MWF progressing nicely without my interference. I shall continue to enjoy the lack of responsibility thanks.
(MWF) Is there anything else you would like to share?
(Paddy) The attitude and respect of this group is such, it enables us to have multiple abilities, sexes, ages, and frailties on the pitch at the same time. While ensuring everyone can get the most out of the activity.
It’s probably the most fun you can have without being allowed to pick the ball up and run with it.