Thursday, 3 December 2009

I've Given Up Smoking!

The last couple of weeks have been more of the same for me really – working and football training in the week and drinking and partying at the weekend! The weekend before last I went to a birthday party on the Friday night and don’t really remember a lot! I woke up at 6pm on the Saturday and decided to just stay at home before going to bed again at about 1am. I was up nice and early the next morning in the hope that my registration was back from the league for me to make my debut for SV Kirschhausen but I was out of luck so had to make do with watching the game instead.

After the game had finished there was a big gathering of everyone connected with the club in the restaurant upstairs and we all got to eat for free which was really good. I wasn’t sure what some of the food was but I tried some of everything that was there and even went back for seconds! I was feeling pretty stuffed after that and headed off home to get a relatively early night ready for work the next day.

My last couple of weeks in the apartment in Kirschhausen I have been getting a lift into work and back home from work off Timo who works just down the road from where I work. I have been starting at about 7.30am every day and finishing at 5.15pm. As a result I was able to finish early on Friday last week and ended up only working from 10am until 3pm. I had arranged to pick up the keys for my new apartment and I also had a few things to do such as some much needed washing and I also had to get a passport photo done for my pass for football.

It was really good of the lady I am renting the apartment off to let me have the keys early and I actually moved in on Sunday 29th November but she has not charged me any more for this. I paid her the month’s rent on Monday (only €529 this month as she has given me a discount as I am in the UK from the 24th December). My rent next month will only be €506 too as I will not be back until 10th January. I think I have fallen on my feet with this apartment as the lady, Mrs Huber, seems to be very nice.

This weekend just gone I went to Apfelbaum both Friday and Saturday night. On Friday I went with Timo, Simon and Toby after we had been in the Hexenkessel with a few of our other friends. It wasn’t really that enjoyable a night to be honest – I wanted us to go and dance with a few girls and have a good time but the others were more preoccupied with drinking and I got bored fairly quickly. On Saturday night I went with Dave and Leno but again they were reluctant to go and dance with girls preferring again to just drink! Luckily, I had already decided I only wanted to stay until 2am as I had to be up for football on the Sunday so I didn’t get bored in the time we were there.

I had been looking forward to making my debut for a while by the time Sunday came so I was fairly psyched up for it. I got up at about 10.30am and was fully awake by the time that Domi and Steffen picked me up to drive to the sportplatz – we were playing away this weekend. I learnt that I would be playing in my preferred position – central defence – so was pretty happy about that. Unfortunately a couple of players had called up to say they were ill so we ended up having to play with only ten players for the whole match.

In the first half we were fairly dominant and took the lead after about 30 minutes. I won the ball just outside of my own area and took it towards the corner flag to try and buy some space but had nowhere to go. I was closed down by a striker so I held him off before turning and picking a team mate out who played a long ball forward. Domi latched onto the through ball and managed to put it past the keeper to put us 1-0 up.

My first half performance was pretty much perfect. I won every tackle that I went in for as well as winning every single header I challenged for. Every 50 50 went my way too with the opposition seemingly happy to wait for the ball to come to them – I did no such thing and forced my way around them every time to snuff out the danger before it presented itself. The only blemish on my first half was a free kick I gave away after about 5 minutes for a shove in the back near the half way line. Incidentally, that was the only foul I made all match.

In the second half the wind picked up massively and, typically, was blowing against us. A combination of this, a deficit of one man and a few tiring players meant that we didn’t finish the game very strongly and conceded two goals in the last 20 minutes. I was really disappointed with this as I feel that I could have prevented one of them if I had been in the area to defend the cross that came in but I had gone to close a player down. The first one we were totally outnumbered for; I think it was 4 on 2.

Near the end of the game I did start to boil over a little – not in a particularly bad way but my passion and determination was certainly evident with me flying into a few tackles in a desperate bid to regain possession and get the ball up the pitch to try and get an equaliser. On one occasion I flew into a tackle and got the ball but due to us playing on a hardplatz I ended up getting a massive burn down my right leg that is still pretty sore now! The referee actually told me to calm down a little after that but, to be fair, he didn’t call a foul and I had won the ball anyway.

On Monday I collected the last of my things from my old apartment and handed the keys back before heading to do some shopping just around the corner from my new apartment. Steffen had picked me up from work and drove me around. He’s a top lad and has been really helpful. Most of the German I have learnt has come from him and he is always offering to help out with things. Life could have been so much harder over the past few weeks if I had not met my new bunch of friends when I did.

I had football training on Tuesday this week which went quite well but I ended up hurting my leg again when I blocked a shot – it’s not a nice feeling to get the ball smacked into a burn from point blank range but there is no way I will be backing off from my defensive duties no matter how much it hurts. I built a rod for my own back in that respect though really as I had been telling everyone how in England we don’t go down after being tackled and hate showing that we’re hurt so I have to adhere to that now – although I would have done anyway!

After training on Tuesday I gave up smoking. I have been thinking about it for about three weeks now but have been waiting for the day when I am in the right frame of mind. That day came on Tuesday so I haven’t had a cigarette since 9pm Tuesday after training. There are a few reasons I want to give up – better fitness will mean better performances, it will save me money and I won’t stink of smoke all the time so hopefully this will be a benefit with the ladies when I have learnt a bit of German!

It has been a tough couple of days but I am determined to stick with it. I have tried to give up several times in the past and my best spell was a year without smoking. Most of the time I manage about 8 weeks before starting again for no apparent reason so I will be extra vigilant around the end of January and start of February. It would be nice if I could beat it once and for all but I will just be taking it one day at a time and seeing how things work out really.

Last night I decided to stay in as I knew it would be easier to stick to the not smoking if I was not around people who smoke. I ended up eating absolutely loads though – after eating a very large spaghetti Bolognese I then polished off a whole tube of sour cream and onion Pringles (with 25% extra free) followed by a Mars bar, a Twix, an apple, a banana, some grapes, a Clementine and a yoghurt. This was all in the space of about 4 hours max so I think I will have to be a little careful not to get fat! I am now out of chocolate and crisps though so I will just stick to fruit for my snacks over the next few days.

Today has been a real struggle for me not to smoke and I have had some pretty big cravings for most of the day but I have managed to resist. Each morning I have to walk past several cigarette machines in the street which is pretty difficult and today I have been unable to think about much else other than smoking! It’s a real pain in the arse as I cannot focus or concentrate on anything fully so I think my productivity has been a bit below par today. Still, I know this stage doesn’t last forever and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Tonight I have football training again so at least the majority of this evening I will be distracted by something else. I just hope that I have a good session and manage not to hurt my right leg any more than I already have. I am looking forward to the prospect of playing again this weekend and wouldn’t want to have to cry off like a girl!

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