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Riding Dirty





It’s a Thursday night, week two of the overseas tour, and we’re all at the trusty Lonestar Restaurant, enjoying another one of our famous team dinners. To give my knee another week’s worth of rehab, it was decided that I should watch the game from the sidelines once more - a decision that allows me to enjoy a beer or two at said dinner. Being the team man that I am, I decide to separate myself from the herd of course, not wanting to have a beer in front of the fellas that can’t do so themselves, it being a bit close to the game and all.

I grab my fellow dirt-tracker (that would be a non-playing reserve, or players 23-26 on tour, also known as a Dirty), Hencus van Wyk, and I make my way over to the bar area. I took him and Jan Serfontein out for a night on the town last week, incidentally to the Lonestar in Auckland, after having announced myself as captain of the Dirty squad. It’s custom for the Dirties to have a little get-together somewhere in the week separate from the rest of the guys, and I’m not comfortable with disregarding any traditions. Also, these two boys seemed so frightened by the idea of being youngsters on their first tour I feared that they wouldn’t leave their hotel rooms unless someone dragged them out of there by the hair. Still, they’re very young and very fragile.

The result was the world’s most well-behaved Dirty dinner.

Anyway, back to Thursday night... I wasn’t planning on anything extravagant this time around either, so I’m dressed in something that closely resembles pajamas, and lumo neon flip flops, so not looking to win any high-fashion awards. We also lost Jan Serfontein to an unfortunate case of team selection, so in my eternal wisdom I declared his replacement, the ever amusing Lionel Mapoe, unfit for the Dirty squad, what with him being injured and all, and Dirty dinners being notoriously bad for injuries. This in itself was pretty sad, since Mr Mapoe would have at least added some value from an entertainment perspective, taking some of the pressure off me.

So we’re standing at the bar, with Hencus breaking out in a contagious dance routine. He might be a chilled guy, but he sure does love to shake that tighthead’s body of his when a good old tune is pumped with a bit of volume. So I join in and dance along very much like I learnt from Hitch, and it’s at this point when the gentleman dancing next to me grabs my attention.

He looks at me as if to suggest that I am thoroughly underdressed for someone who plans on dancing in the crowd, and says something about it probably being a spontaneous decision. He does so with a smile though.

I immediately realise that said gentleman, being very well groomed and smelling like lilies, is smiling a little too nicely for a man that’s just having innocent banter with another, and with skills of deduction I only realised I possessed after I started watching Elementary, the story about a modern day Sherlock Holmes, I deduce that he is making a pass.

I don’t know what could’ve given him the wrong idea, but I have a strong suspicion that it might have been Hencus’s phenomenal dancing. My light stubble is a close second.

Despite being of strong heterosexual nature myself, which can be confirmed by my girlfriend, I feel complimented by the gentleman’s harmless interest in me, and I decide to respond in a friendly vein, not feeling pressed to mention my sexual preference, or wanting to cause an international incident.

I tell him that he’s right, since I wouldn’t have gone for the lumo neon flip flops if I had actually planned something. He laughs, and proceeds to say, “Don’t lie, you definitely would have...”

I laugh back, and confirm as much. We both turn around.

Hencus looks at me with admiration, I guess because of the way in which I handled a potentially uncomfortable situation, but in my mind I’m thinking that the guy is gonna make his next move soon, and that I’m gonna have to tell him that I’m straight eventually.

But that’s just it - he didn’t...

No moves, no passes, not even acknowledging that I was there. He was using the oldest trick in the book - playing hard to get, and I’ll tell you what - it was working. For a moment there I was wondering if he had lost interest in me, or if some hideous flaw of mine had put him off. He really got to me, the bastard. All I wanted was for him to like me again...

I tried to grab his attention with some extravagant dancing… didn’t work. I shouted the words to all the songs that were playing to hopefully get him to think that I’m intelligent and make him aware of my keen appreciation of music…didn’t work. I laughed like a maniac at a pretend joke to swindle him into thinking that we had a good vibe in our corner, and in doing so perhaps get a glance our way as my reward… didn’t work.

Nothing worked.

But then, in a moment of brilliance, I basically knocked a waitress into him, and after I helped her up from the floor, he nodded at me and with that same smile of before he said, “Good man...”

BOOM... Redemption.

Weird hey, isn’t it?

Anyway, that’s all the gossip I’ve got, thanks for joining me here at high tea.

It probably looks a bit dodgy when I write about something like that two weeks after posting a picture of myself in a pink bikini, but I can assure you that I’m not trying to tell you anything - I’m just crazy like that, and since I’m already in high spirits, let’s at least just touch on the great victory in Auckland last week.

Sadly, I wasn’t on the field to experience it, but I can tell you that I was filled with tremendous pride when the boys walked off. You’ve probably heard about it being the first time ever that we’ve picked up a scalp against the Blues at home, so I won’t go on about the significance of it all, but just know that it really is significant.

Just like you put a loss behind you and move on, I sometimes feel you have to do the same thing with certain victories too. You don’t want to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the feeling of accomplishment, regardless of how big a victory it was. We’ve got three games left, against three opponents tough as nails, and if you want to be honest with yourself, going back home with 1 out of 4 would be failure, and it would detract from the Blues victory in any case. There’s still lots of business left.

Next week, I’ll hopefully step down from my prestigious position as Dirty Captain, but not before I create some “gees” among the guys before the big game against the Crusaders on Saturday.

I’ll leave you with a photo of Jacques trying on a one-piece pajama suit. I’ve got news for him - pajamas get you all kinds of attention...


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