Down for the Weekend: World Cup Fatigue

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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john connor

Hi, everyone. I’m absolutely exhausted. And it’s all the fault of the World Cup.

Not from any sort of secondary exercise while watching games, but because it’s given me the week off work.

England lost their last group match to Belgium on June 29. Their last 16 game — against Colombia — was set to be played on Tuesday, after I wrote this column. That’s a show night for me. It’s when I usually have to make my way from the depths of South London to the very aorta of my capital: the West End. Think Times Square with only a small bank of light-emitting adverts, but oodles of theaters.

We had no choice but to cancel. Pubs were the only venues to do a roaring trade on this big match night.

I’ve been running my show for 28 years — the last 10 with MS. In the past few months, I’ve been doing the entire thing from my wheelchair. The venue has kindly adapted to my immobility and found a way to get me smoothly into the lighting box. (It takes three people: one to push, one to put the ramps down, and one to stop punters falling over the ramps when they exit the adjacent lavatory.)

So, if I had the week off, why am I so tired?

Well, to conserve energy, I’ve taken to working at my laptop in my bedroom over each weekend, preparing myself for my weekly outing. Like some kind of a boxer, I now lead a truly monastic weekend life. By stealth, it’s become a ritual.

We’re in a heat wave that hasn’t been seen in the U.K. since 1976. I ventured downstairs and spent what seemed like a holiday with my lovely family.

As we all know, extremes of heat severely interfere with the majority of us with MS. Luckily, we have a pool in our back garden. It was put in by the previous owners, and we’ve maintained it for the last 22 years. I don’t recommend it — pools are deceptively expensive and time-consuming. You’d think it would be a boon for an MS sufferer to cool off in, which is a yes and a no. Last summer, I managed to get in once. The summer before, I nearly drowned.

Who needs a wheelchair? (Photo by Jane Davies)

However, this week, the intense heat won out, and I’ve been in twice in two days. I may no longer be able to swim, but I can now have a walk while clinging to the sides. Being upright is, according to the therapists at my recent exercise class, incredibly good for you. Muscles long dormant have been used.

So, yes, I’m tired, though at the time of writing, on Tuesday, I’m now finding that even a few days out of my comfort zone have physically strengthened me.

It seems there’s a work-life balance even for those of us who lost their balance years ago.


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Cyndi avatar


Just watched England cap Sweden - great game - no doubt you're flying high...regardless of the sky high temps. Ditto on the benefits of "swimming" or, as I call it, water walking. Endurance and range of motion I can't otherwise achieve on land. Gravity be damned.


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