Head wounds, head banging, and a tiny head of steam
If there is one thing we will probably all agree on, it’s that learning stuff is part of life. We live in a world where advice is the liquid soap to this public toilet, and I’m not implying that life is a dump, so to speak, but rather that the liquid soap is sometimes used, and sometimes not.
Unfortunately, the kind of cleansing that goes with advice sometimes rids us of things that are not supposed to be lost – things that define us.
Once upon a time there was a rapscallion that told me that I need to be more efficient and more economic in the way I approach things, whether it be my life, my love, my rugby, whatever.
It sounded like a good idea at the time, but, in hindsight, the implementation of said advice changed me in a way that was contradictory to what I’m all about. Now, I’m not one of those who like to be asked what it’s like to have myself so figured out, mainly because I don’t have a clue, but if there is one thing that I do know, it’s that I need to give it plenty.
I am the exact opposite of economic, to be honest. I’m all over the place.
This specific counsel was obviously pertinent to rugby at the time it was given. I was an 80 kg number eight playing first team and Craven Week rugby with a massive penchant for going on suicide missions – so much so that I often ended up with the wrong end of the stick, which meant hospital beds and scans and the like. Still, it was the only way I could be effective, and it was the only way I knew how.
Despite disrupting my face somewhat, it did manage to get me where I am today, I think. In the meantime though, the three thousand wise men also crossed my path.
Long story short, somewhere along the line, I changed. I traded in my heavy metal pre-match playlist for a considerably less abrasive one. I cut my hair, I started drinking light beer, I feared making mistakes, and I basically became the poster child for efficiency and safety.
The reason… Well, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s because I had something to lose for the first time, contrary to the past. I ended up losing it in any case.
It’s not who I am at all though.
Then, on Saturday, I got to thinking about the road I’ve been on, the choices I’ve made, and how the game has played out for me. I thought a lot about those high school days – just a couple of kids trying to make an honest living… Something changed in my mind.
Now, change is a funny thing. It’s either a magical moment where the transformation in your mind and body is so instant that it almost feels tangible. And then, there’s the kind of change where it happens over such a long time that you don’t even realise you’re changing, until after you already have. I think I’m the second case.
I’ve been on a journey for a while now in rugby, as far as my own personal game is concerned, trying to figure out exactly who and what I need to be. Now, I’m a team-man, so that priority will be ever fixed. Exactly what the team needs is another question, and I thought to myself on Saturday that maybe the team doesn’t need ME to be economic, but rather just myself.
I exited the playlist on my iPod consisting of “Bon Iver” and “Iron and Wine”, and switched to a nostalgic one more consistent with High School Dewie… This one had some Iron Maiden and Nirvana on it.
I felt alive on the field for the first time in a while. It’s got less to do with the music I listened to than the shift in my mind prior to the game, but it was noticeable for me. I guess the new squad has something to do with it as well. To me, it’s kind of reminiscent of the way it felt in high school where we were running the team on the field with a bunch of youngsters who are looking for examples and a way forward.
Ultimately, it was one of the most important victories in a light blue jersey ever. We really needed it. Coming back like that is a massive achievement for such a young side. The kind of urgency that I experienced before the start and at halftime is more synonymous with a team that has lost eight games in a row, fighting for survival. I think it was a very mature resurgence.
Okay, so I got six stitches and a mild concussion to show for my kamikaze pilot behaviour, but it was worth it. If you can recall, I normally bled every second game in any case, in 2010.
It is how I play, and I shouldn’t have tried to change it, and I shouldn’t have to. It does make finding a wife that much more difficult, but I’m hoping I become a likeable person in the meantime.
In spite of my best wishes, it didn’t even produce me with the Hitman Award for the biggest hit in the traditional post-match prize giving. Instead, that honour went to Fudge Mabeta, who also walked away with the Bison (Most cleans) and Workhorse (Highest work rate) trophies, even improving on the records for a lock that he set last week.
Akona Ndungane once again walked away with the best backline player award, and this week the Manager’s award for extraordinary excellence went to the young fullback, Jurgen Visser. He had a massive game, despite picking up a groin injury early in the first half.
I did add to my set of coasters though with the Sniper Award for most tackles again, which I’m really glad about, because last week’s one broke.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, Zsa Zsa (my bulldog) had something to do with it.
I was also thinking that you guys can address (good) questions to me in the “comment box”, and I will try to reply with my own comments when I get the chance, if you feel like it of course.
I’m in a good place, and we’re in a good place as a team, and this week we’re heading to a nice place – Newlands…