The Nine Month Pre-Season

It’s almost time for kick off.

It’s been a long winter, but pre-season is finally coming to an end. We can put all the endless speculation, worrying about the state of the facilities, worrying about finances and where money might be coming from, behind us and concentrate on what really matters.

The nine-month pre-season is almost over. We’re almost ready to unveil our new signing and kick off a brand-new campaign.

This will genuinely be a season like no other before it. I will have actual responsibilities. Believe me, I’m more terrified for this kid than you are. Things are going to have to change.

No more care-free willy-nilly drinking before during and after games. For a while at least. I have responsibilities now, I may need to tend to a screaming, crying baby when I get home. I’m not sure, is it easier to look after a baby if you’re drunk? Actually, forget I asked that.

No more sitting on a bus going to away games drinking a rake of cans without having to think about the atrocious hangover awaiting on the other side. I feel like I already know the answer to this one but is there anything more damaging to the human soul than changing a pure disgrace of a nappy when you have one world class Harp hangover?  Also, I never did that bus to away games, drinking a rake of cans thing. I just know I can’t do it now. For a while at least.  

I need to be at my best. I need to make sure I’m making the most of pre-season, getting the reps in. The nappy change beep test. I haven’t tried this yet but it’s on the list. Nightly feed prep. Setting the alarm every two hours every night and getting out of bed to feed an imaginary baby. So, this hasn’t happened either because there’s no baby yet so it would be a waste of time. I’m sure it won’t be that hard. It’s not that bad right? Yeah, forget I asked that too. Telling my wife she’s doing an amazing job. This bit I have done. Every day. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

I’m not the leader of this team. That would be my wife. I’m not the captain of the team. That would be my wife. I’m not even the mascot of this team, the dog holds that position. I’m lucky to be involved. For some reason, the captain/leader/coach/general manager picked me to join the team and I’m forever grateful that she did. I’m the water carrier, I’m Didier Deschamps, no one knows how exactly I ended up being an integral part of such a great team yet, there’s Deschamps holding the World Cup aloft.

Speaking of holding things aloft, how soon should I bring the boy to Oriel and perform the opening scene from the Lion King? Our new signing will be incapable of supporting his own head, yet I will see to it that he is supporting the town from the instant he arrives.

Everything is going to change. Certain things that were possible before may not be possible now. Is it possible for a first time dad with an very infant baby to write a weekly Dundalk FC blog? That is a challenge. A challenge I’m giving myself for no good reason.  

Each game this season is going to be a new experience. Will he be asleep? Will I be changing his nappy? Will he be screaming and roaring the house down? What will I miss if I’m at the game and he’s at home? What if I have to tell him when he gets older that I wasn’t there for his first word because I was in Oriel? Will he be proud of me?

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