A few months ago my neighbour called, with a question. Would I like to join an over 35s women’s soccer team? A local club, the Rockdale Raiders, where her sons play, was wanting to start a team for the Friday night winter women’s comp. All the games would be played down the end of our street. I told her I’d think about it.

I got off the phone and told my family – and pretty much we all laughed at the concept. I don’t think I’ve ever willingly joined a sports team. My children both then got very serious with me, the lad was all “You need a growth mindset Mum, of course you should join the team” and my daughter followed it through with “You’ll meet new people and make new friends”. I told them I thought I had plenty of friends and really, do I need this sort-of challenge. Then I decided to make a deal with my daughter, I’d go outside of my comfort zone if she would too. Her part of the deal was to invite friends over.

Before you knew it I was back on the phone to my neighbour, linked up to the whatsapp group, and signing up to the team!

G also went into action and had a group of friends over one Friday afternoon before the season started. It was lovely to meet some of her school friends at long last.

Now you may ask what does this have to do with Josh, and why am I writing about this today? Well, after I’d played my first ever game of soccer I posted on Facebook, with a photo of our team after the game. Josh rang me up in fits of laughter, he was in disbelief that I was playing sport, and he was full of comments like “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you run”. I met him when he was born – I knew him all of his fifty years. He knew that I’m built for comfort, not for speed.

Within a week or so when we were having one of our many conversations he was full of plans. Could I let him know what time my games would be, could he come with Jess to watch, and could he ask me a favour – to all of which I replied Yes, yes and yes.

The favour was not for a million dollars (I couldn’t help him there anyway) but, if he was going to come along to a game could I please wear my hair in pigtails. The answer was a resounding Yes. I laughed and laughed at the ease of fulfilling that request. Once a year, or so, I decide to wear that hairstyle anyway.

Today, in honour of Joshua, who unfortunately never got to see me play, I have my hair in piggies. Here’s cheers to absent friends – he’s never going to leave me really.

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