If you are still struggling to lose a few of those pounds put on over Christmas caused by those moreish mince pies and you have already grown bored of the gym, why not try your hand, or should I say your feet at ‘Walking Football’.
The game has recently soared in popularity over the past 5 years or so with the game opening new opportunities for people to not only get a great form of exercise, but find a new way to meet like minded people.
Rothwell can be labelled somewhat as pioneers in the sport, with the Rothwell Old Boards Walking Football Club being formed back in 2015. I caught up the clubs Chairperson Chris Bird who was happy to answer a few questions about the sport and the Rothwell club.
What is walking football and what are the differences with regular football? It perhaps sounds easier than it actually is…?
Walking football is aimed at people who can no longer play regular football. It is mainly for the over 50s but at the Old Boars we have members under 50 who can no longer play mainstream sport because of injury or illness.
The main difference is that you walk and don’t run. It is also a non contact sport meaning people with conditions such as knee and hip replacements can take part. Also ladies can come and play without feeling intimidated or in danger. At Rothwell we play with a smaller futsal ball rather than a regular ball. It slows the game down and cuts out the desire to run.
The game isn’t as sedate as it sounds, its a good work out and a lot more fun than jogging or going to the gym.
When and how were the Rothwell Old Boars formed?
Rothwell Old boars was started in February 2015. A small group of us were parents of players at Rothwell juniors football club. we were challenged to a game by parents and coaches from Townville in Castleford.
For many months there was just 6 of us but we played every week with the help of our sons.
In June 2016 we hosted the first ever walking football tournament to be held in Leeds. We had teams attending from as far afield as Heanor and Scarborough.
After the tournament our membership grew and grew. In May this year we moved from our base at Rothwell juniors across to the West Riding County FA headquarters. The move has given us more room to grow.
Would you say that the sport is not only good in terms of being a good form of regular exercise but also has a social element beneficial to the club members?
We have members who only left the house to go shopping. Now they get regular exercise and more social interaction. They have made new friends and have a new lease of life.
The club competed in a tournament at Hull back in October, how did that go?
We entered 3 teams in the Hull Pacemakers tournament. As usual we were the only club there with ladies in the teams. Some clubs are not interested in inclusion. Its all about winning for them. One of our teams won the fair play trophy on the day but it was really the whole of our club that won it. We had 19 men and women there representing Rothwell Old Boars and all of them enjoyed the day.
How many tournaments is the club involved in during a year?
This year we entered 7 tournaments. The year starts with the peoples cup which is run by the BBC and the Football Association.
Our 50+ squad won our own festival and the Doncaster Retro Rovers tournament.
Our ladies took part in the worlds first ladies tournament in Preston.
If someone is interested in playing, what do they need to know and where does the club meet up? Are there any restrictions?
We play on Friday nights at the West riding county FA Fleet Lane Woodlesford. We meet at 8pm and play until 9.15. if someone is interested they can contact me. Chris Bird 07860890383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, what makes you proud to be a Rothwell Old Boar?
At Rothwell Old Boars we are immensely proud of our inclusivity. Anyone of any ability or disability is welcome to come and have a game.
So there you have it, if you fancy joining the Old Boars get yourself down the Fleet Lane, any Friday, 8pm – 9:15pm.