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Aug 23

A first and a last this week. I’m feeling nostalgic.

Finn McCool’s FC – you know, that pub football team I wrote a book about – played our first-ever away game on Saturday. It only took us six-and-a-half years. We had a great trip though so it was almost worth the wait.

We went to Florida, a little resort called Seaside to be exact, to play against a team also based at a nearby bar. We have probably 35 players between the two squads, but only six of us actually made the trip which was disappointing. We roped in two ringers, and an Irish guy who lives in Florida now, but that still left us a couple of men short. So we borrowed some of the opposition and our makeshift side did their best, but the home team was way too strong for us and won 3-0. They were a decent outfit with some good players, and with our haphazard squad and, err, sore heads from the night before, it was always going to be a struggle.

But we all had a great time. The other team’s generosity was fantastic, and it even ran to providing us with a fabulous house at very little cost – in fact, the place slept 12 but we only had six players in it! Free food and drink, the sun, the surf, football… it was wonderful, and we are very grateful to the boys from the beach.

Meanwhile, my near four-year stint as a stay-at-home dad is almost at an end. Today my daughter had orientation at school, then she has a half-day on Friday before starting for good on Monday. Wow. Everyone tells you the same thing but you don’t believe them until it’s your own child – the time flies.

Although she has had me tearing my hair out at times, I also know I’m going to have a lump in my throat when I wave her off next week. It reminds me of that quote from Brian Friel’s play Philadelphia Here I Come, something like, “Memories distilled of all their coarseness and what’s left is solid, solid gold.” In other words, selective memory is great and you only remember the good days.

But I’ll be keeping busy. I need to paint the house, I’m teaching a fiction-writing class and coaching Nicola’s school’s football team. That should keep me going for a wee while. And you never know – maybe with all this free time I may even blog more than once a month. But don’t count on it…