A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of being installed as volunteer Sports Chaplain for Camelon Juniors FC - our local amateur team. They are a team of mainly 20 year olds who play in the Scottish Junior Football Association's East Super League.
Well today, having been with them for a couple of training sessions, I had the pleasure of being at their first home match during my tenure. It was an East of Scotland Cup match against Glenrothes Juniors who are a division below Camelon. Yes, I did say glenrothes - the place we lived for ten years before moving here!! Oh the irony!
To add to the momentous nature of the occasion, because Carol-Anne was to be at a party with some church friends, I had the girls with me. So they came to their first ever football match.
Camelon started strong and were 2-0 up within 15 minutes then Glenrothes had a player rightly sent off. But it stayed 2-0 to half time. After the break, Glenrothes came out strong and after some early shots, soon had a goal back. Another goal each led to a nervy last 15 minutes but thankfully Camelon added another goal with a few minutes to go to end up 4-2 victors. So more of a battle than it should have been but we got the result. Some work to do on the training ground this week before a league trip up to Broughty Ferry next week.
But aside of the football, which is really down to the manager and coaching staff to deal with (I'm a Tottenham fan after all so what do I know?!), I was pleased to be there to support and encourage the whole team, to shake their hands on their way off the pitch, and to enquire after those who took some knocks. It was also good to chat with some of the fans.
These are early days for my chaplaincy and I need to focus on gaining the trust of the players and staff, but I am also getting some ideas of things to do for and with the club. All in good time though. I'm here for the marathon not the sprint!
For now I'm pleased to have got started and look forward to serving the club in the times ahead. My minimum requirement is to attend one weekly training session and home matches and I will do my best to keep to that and do more if I can. I also hope to build on the support from our church and learn more from my fellow Falkirk Vineyard sports chaplain at East Stirlingshire FC.
These are exciting times in the Camelon area and we are really pleased to be playing our part in that.