The final season starts here

There is a box of chocolates on the table.

Half its contents remain in the box. The other half?

I’ve eaten them. ¬†And I may well eat the rest before this night is out.

It’s January 13.

This has to stop.

At the end of last season, I decided pretty quickly that it wouldn’t be my last. Five goals and a grubby fistful of points and assists in eight games at the tail-end of the season had me thinking that there was one more season left.

Like a politician, I am handing this to the gods, because I haven’t got the good sense to go at a time of my own choosing.

The indoor soccer is doing its usual job of keeping me sane but I’m not fooling anyone. There’s an awful lot of arse and gut that needs to be either shifted around or disposed of altogether, and the muscles of my upper body resemble nothing more than knotted pipe-cleaners.

But that’s OK, the season doesn’t start just yet.

Before it does, I have some work to do in the pool and the gym and on the bike. Not to mention on my shooting.

I’ll also have to get the souvenir I took home from Tallinn with me sorted out.

At some point on that hot summer day last year, I went to pick the ball up and got flattened by a Helsinki Harp.

Until that moment I was delighted with their arrival on the scene, but ever since I have a click in the joint of my right hip that pops inexplicably, mostly when I’m watching TV.

I’m doing so at the moment.

The men-mountains of the NFL, all rippling muscles and powerful running, are doing their best to shame me into lifting my stuffed-turkey carcass up and out its torpor.

Tomorrow is the beginning of what I expect to be my last season as a Gaelic footballer.

And I will be documenting every painful step of it here.