Here we go again, I thought; and then sure enough, with only the slightest hint of incredulity:
"Do you still play rugby then?"
It took some considerable restraint not to sigh, wearily, but I managed.
"No, I don't; but my son does - and I referee"
"Do you need boots, then, just to referee?"
This time a small sigh, just a small one, simply forced its way out.
"Well the mud's just as slippy for refs"
"Oh yes, of course"
"And if someone stands on your foot it hurts just as much"
"What, even a little kid?"
A shaft of sunlight split the air, my spirits raised, my heart was lightened. A little kid :-)
"Yes", I replied warmly, "even if it's just one of the little kids"