Local sport means so much to so many

Getting stuck in the mud is part of the fun

Getting stuck in the mud is part of the fun - Credit: Archant

The joy of the game

When it comes to our love of local sport, it is often the little things that make it so special.

For the local footballer, Saturday often starts with that meet in the car park, the slightly nervous chat before reaching the ground.

As you walk out for the warm-up, nets assembled and tightened, ready to receive the winning goal. Slightly ragged corner flags flutter in the breeze, the penalty spot sat in a bowl that would be more suited to a pitching wedge than a solid right boot.

The match goes by in a blur.

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It is after the shower, sat in the bar (that day will come), when you have the chance to reflect.

The wonder-strike in the top corner is special but there is also the glow of pride for the header off the line, the defensive midfielder putting their body on the line to protect the back four.

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We celebrate or commiserate as a group, with those remarkable volunteers quietly collecting the subs and making plans for next week.

Local sport is the rugby player shining their boots, safe in the knowledge they will be filthy within seconds of the game starting.

Scoring a try is the pinnacle, but the secret satisfaction comes from that last-ditch tackle, winning your individual battle, or the enthusiastic replacement getting 10 minutes at the end.

It is opening the fresh can of tennis balls and the small release of pressurised air that marks the start of proceedings.

The smell of freshly-cut grass as you arrive in glorious sunshine for a day at the bowls.

Local sport is the pre-round banter on the first tee, belittling your partners while secretly wanting them to play well.

It is the sight of that opening shot sailing into the blue sky, bounding down the fairway.

You record a solid Par 4 and this could be your career.

Before you have found contact details for the Ryder Cup captain, it is a triple bogey on the second and you will have to go back to work on Monday after all.

It is brisk sea air with a surfboard under your arm, the sound of a snooker ball rattling into the pocket, the joy of a treble 20 with your first dart, swiftly followed by a 1 and a 5.

Local sport is the players, the volunteers, the supporters and, corny though it is, local sport is the taking part. Because we love it.

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