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Darlington Football Club

Ray Simpson / 21st February 2021

The Ramblings of Rev John -- sometimes it's quite OK not to be OK

The Ramblings of Rev John -- sometimes it's quite OK not to be OK

The latest from our club chaplain


Sometimes it’s quite OK not to be OK


I don’t know why so many of us, and I include myself here, have an automatic understanding that if you are talented and successful it is certain that you will, in consequence, be happy.

Of course, in reality there is no guaranteed link between success and happiness. Like many other Darlo supporters, I was really shocked to hear Nathan Cartman sharing the reality that he was recently on the edge of suicide. Surely this guy has so much talent, how could he be anything other than really happy? I remember Alfie playing kick around at Darlo matches and Millie is looking as though she will be equally as good a footballer as her dad. So many positive things, but…., and here comes the but.


There is no way that we can ever fully know what is going on in the minds of others, even our closest friends, never mind our heroes who, whenever they are able, pull on a Darlo shirt. As a vicar, there is a similar assumption that we are surely always positive and happy with our lot.

However, I promise you that I understand how Nathan felt. There was an evening in Poland many years ago. At the time, I was totally alone and had spent an evening in a group where everybody seemed to be happy and in loving relationships. Walking home I realised that all I could do was cry, and the crying turned to howling. Yes, the farm boy from Darlington cried in the street. Thankfully I had one good friend who was also working in Poland. Matthew is a Scot and a Rangers fan to boot, but in my hour of need he was there. Knowing he was there helped me to keep going.


Looking back now, it all seems a bit silly. Fast forward 15 years and I’m happily married, I love being a vicar, and I’m indescribably proud to be Club Chaplain and a Vice President. However, it could so easily have gone the other way. These current times are tough, horribly tough. This third lockdown seems endless and is resulting in all sorts of bad things, not least the fact that we have no more league games to look forward to until we don’t know when. However, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This might mean looking for help or it might mean looking out to make sure those around us are ok.


One of the many things that make me proud to be a Darlo fan is that we care for each other and look out for each other. If you are feeling under the weather at present, please share your concerns. It really is true that a problem shared is a problem halved. If you would like to chat with me, please don’t hesitate to send a message to  chaplain@darlingtonfc.org. I will get back to you as soon as possible.


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