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The Adventures of Dewie and the Intoxicated Bulldog

...so I’m lying on my couch with the soothing soundtrack of Zsa Zsa the bulldog’s snoring in the background as I attempt to write this week’s column. When I pulled into my garage after training, I closed the door before she could follow me into the house, so she had to walk around to the backdoor to gain entrance, which explains her state of exhaustion.

I haven’t failed in too many of my endeavours since she has been in my life, but I do know of one instance for sure. I tried to teach her to snore to the sound of a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo, but she prefers to sound like a refrigerator.

Well, just like Zsa Zsa, I had a typical rollercoaster-ride of a week.

It started on Monday.

Zsa Zsa was due to have an operation the next day (Tuesday) to remove a swollen gland in her eye, so in preparation for it, she had to stop eating at 10 o’clock Monday night.

Stopping her from doing so will go down as the most difficult - nigh - impossible task I ever took on, and succeeded in. Ever.

Meanwhile, I was preparing for one of my routine afternoon fitness sessions (the kind where I run around for an extended period of time whilst waiting for my d-day appointment with the specialist), when I was joined by two familiar faces at Loftus. Victor (Matfield), who has been helping us this season on Mondays, as a consultant, decided to join me for whatever reason, which was inspiring, since I don’t see myself training for at least the first 12 years after retiring.

Fourie du Preez was the second gentleman who joined me. He’s back in Pretoria for a three-month break after finishing what was an exceedingly successful season in Sushi Town.

Naturally, the patrons of Trademarx Restaurant (which is next to our B-field) were fascinated by this scenario, and I was blinded by what reminded me of a sequence of camera flashes at the Oscars. In fact, it was more like a scene in the Kruger National Park, where onlookers were treated to a sprint race between Victor the Lion, Fourie the Puma, and me – the random Albino Python perhaps, slithering somewhere in the distance.

Nevertheless, I wanted to show these two “toppies” just how fit I am. Long story short, I almost died. In my defence - Fourie, who is also starting to resemble a Twilight character due to Japan’s isolation from the sun, died a little bit more.

Then came Tuesday...

It was operation day for Zsa Zsa, and I haven’t been that nervous even for one of my own operations. It was a success though, and just witnessing a 30kg bulldog still suffering from the effects of anesthetics was priceless. In fact, I’m considering paying another R1 000 and sending her for a tummy tuck, just to see it again.

Now, as mentioned before, Tuesday was d-day for me as well - the one I’ve been waiting for since you-know-what, for 7 weeks and 2 days - my first return appointment at the specialist. I was absolutely elated when he actually gave me the green light to get back onto the field - a full five weeks before my originally anticipated 12-week target.

And let me tell you, it’s not a coincidence. I worked my ass off, and I wasn’t this well behaved even in Sunday school.

I phoned our team doc the second I left the specialist’s practice. Alas, the team for the Lions game had already been decided, so I had to face the fact - I needed to wait a few more days before making a proper return.

Which brings us to Wednesday...

Flip van der Merwe had to withdraw from the team after a groin injury, and I got the call from coach Frans Ludeke - I’m on the bench. I can’t really explain the feeling, other than to tell you how humbled I am to still feel this way after seven years of playing professional rugby.

I bumped into Victor later in the day, who teased me by referring to his dismay at not having been approached by the coach to take up the spot on the bench. I smiled back at him, and mentioned I probably looked better in our Monday afternoon fitness session.

In the meantime, Zsa Zsa has returned to a diet consisting of my “flip flops” and the corners of my kitchen cupboards, so I suppose peace and normality is restored in our separate little worlds.

When you are forced to take such a long break, you sometime forget how good it feels to feel alive, but I will never be too proud to admit that rugby, and the privilege of playing, succeeds in reminding me, every time.

My dear young mother - who sometimes makes little mistakes with words, much to the amusement of me and my father - was also excited after I broke the news to her. She told me that I should start carbon-loading immediately. I hope she didn’t really intend to suggest that I should commit suicide by inhaling exhaust fumes, and that she’d be happy to know that I had some pasta for dinner.

She was right though - I need all the carbs I can get. The Jukskei Derby is a great game for making a return, but I hope the result will already be decided if and when I get the chance to run onto the field.

It’s time to step to up to another level.

I hope you guys in blue will be holding thumbs - it’s always so much easier to do the job when you’re a million strong as opposed to just 22.

And to everyone, thanks for supporting the column guys. Feel free to drop some comments below or alternatively on twitter (@DewaldPotgieter), I’ll always try to interact.

Have a good one...

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