The thing about me and rugby was the simple truth that I was persistently mediocre, low mediocre in all actuality. Everytime there was a game for a period of two looong years, I was the perennial last 5 minute man or not needed player. I’d be lying if I say I was happy with the situation, I certainly was not.
However, I kept coming and rugby being rugby, someone’s bound to be injured so I got to play sometimes the whole 40 minute half. Nobody in their right mind would have questioned my enthusiasm but nobody in the right mind would also pass me the ball even if I was the only one within range. Slightly frustrated but I kept coming and coming and coming till i got my macho break.
I was selected to start because the first three choices were unavailable through real injuries, girl friend induced injuries (oouch) and (someone must have whacked his head repeatedly with a blunt object) heart injury to the third stringer who thought that it was better for me to play. I gleefully accepted the challenge and was a picture of swagger and confidence until I saw the guy I was suppose to be marking. Not a guy, maybe an ogre, so no wonder the third stringer stepped down.
Nonetheless, I had a plan. I will just jump on him and hang on long enough till the cavalry arirrives. We’ve been playing for 4 or 5 minutes when he came at me after busting through two tackles and with made believed ferocity, I jumped on him and he ducked and I hit my friend instead who in turn whacked my forehead.
Was feeling stupid, stood up and tried to look cool. Wiped my forehead and all the coolness left me as blood was all over my forehead. Knees buckled, tried to stand but in vain. Still, i had enough in me not to be stretched out and was send to the clinic for my first set of stitiches, all eleven of them. That was it. I was a bonafide rugby player as I got stitches. Girls loved it and I was perplexed but rather suprisingly happy as the stitiches turned me from a never will be to the second stringer.