Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A rugby man

A lovely tribute to Keith Floyd in the Telegraph.

I just started playing again, after a break of something like eight years. So on Saturday, I'll be a few weeks from my 49th birthday and playing second row in the "development squad" - a slightly fancy name for the Second XV - for my local club. I initially tried to join the vets team, but this is what's happened so far. I'm rather pleased to be in a development squad at my age.

It's not the highest level in the world, but it is competitive league rugby (thanks, Greene King). And I'm having a ball, only slightly punctuated by physiotherapy. Ironically, that's because of a gym incident. I decided to try explosive leg presses with the maximum weight on the machine. By the end, I had to move the machine back into its place - my efforts had "walked" it across the floor - and I'd irritated an old knee injury and buggered my quads.

Ah well. That's what comes of training. This was the day before the selection match, a friendly with a local team, and I didn't want to miss it. So I phoned an old mate who has one of the worst jobs in rugby: he's the coach of Trinidad's national team. The poor sod has to live there, drinking cold beers and scuba diving when he's not coaching. His advice was taken onboard, so after a night and a morning of ice packs, I taped the kneecap into an elevated position, ate perhaps too many painkillers, and ventured forth.

No good. I was still crocked. The quads felt like they were pulling every time I took a step. I played for just under an hour, if played is the word I'm looking for. Last week was better. Onwards and upwards, I say. After all, I am in the development squad.

PS During the selection match I used a couple of tubes of deep heat cream, trying to get the leg muscles to cooperate. It reminded me of a remark of Gareth Edwards' - I might not have been fit, but by God I smelt fit.


dearieme said...

The old rule in rugby was that only the best players sported fancy-dan bandages and such. The "thirds" just trotted out and played unadorned, whatever their state of health.

Peter Risdon said...

I look like The Return of The Mummy. More bandages than the average casualty ward.