Sunday, September 27, 2009
Now this was a great day...
It is quite rare for me to have "great days" without the kids being involved - in fact I can't remember the last one - but today was one.
Early this morning, I flew from Grand Prairie, Alberta, where I played last night, home to Victoria. I was nervous the whole time because I had lost my keys. I'd ripped my bag apart, the guitar cases, and couldn't find them...and that meant I wouldn't be able to go to the rugby game this afternoon, where I might have a chance of playing (my kit would be locked in the van).
But I finally recalled, sitting in my plane seat, that the last time I had seen my keys, I had almost unthinkingly tossed them into a plastic bin to go through the X-ray machine on the way to Grand Prairie, so I spent all day hoping that when I returned to the Victoria Airport, someone would have found them and turned them in.
And...they had. Wow. Talk about elation. I said goodbye to T. and J. (bass player and drummer), jumped in the van, and headed to one of the most storied rugby pitches in Canada, the James Bay Athletic Association's pitch. I found K. and asked him how numbers were for the Third Division game.
"Low", he said.
Then D. walked past and said, "Where's your kit?". Then I saw C., and he said the same thing. So I thought I would throw my stuff on and play, even though I was pretty fried from the plane travel.
It was an absolutely perfect day, sunny and very warm. I don't know what the official temperature was, but it felt about 78 Farenheit there on the pitch. I played the first 55 minutes at left wing, was then subbed off for ten minutes, and then came on again for K.L. at right wing for the last few minutes.
With each game, I get a bit more comfortable, and a few new things happen. For example, I picked up a kick today and booted it back - first time I've ever attempted a kick. (The arc was low and it hit a big James Bay forward closing in on me square in the chest and bounced right up into the air). I was also in quite a few rucks, as there was lots of play on the perimeter, and got quite a few passes.
I didn't do anything spectacular, but also didn't do anything stupid (that I know of). At some point, I got knocked in the right knee and could barely walk back to the car (it has settled down now). Other than that, everything went okay, though we ended up losing by a hair.
M., the Fijian, had a very good game at fly-half today, with a few spectacular runs, a couple of which ended in tries. I notice he is always quick, and tricky with the ball, and very adventurous, but always seems composed. Actually, a lot of the fellas had very good games.
I came home and showered, and hung out with the kids. I told Sno-Cone and Trixta a Timmy story and a Pizza story, which they both seemed to love (I had them laughing pretty hard during the Pizza story - a little tale about Pizza burning down a restaurant by "accident"), gave Shortcake some medicine and tucked her in, chatted with A-Rock, E, and T-Bone (Tracy is staying here at the moment in a spare bedroom and watched the kids while I was gone).
After the kids were all in bed, Ashton said he would be in charge and I popped down to the rugby clubhouse. To my surprise, it was quite full. A few guys had guitars and everyone was singing. After a few minutes, knowing that I'm a musician, they all started chanting "Tal - Tal - Tal", so I finally obliged and played a few numbers. Actually, I ended up playing piano for about an hour, taking requests. We did "Hey Jude", "Let It Be", a bunch of Bob Marley songs ("Redemption Song", "Is This Love", etc.), "California Dreamin'", "My Girl", and, well, anything anyone suggested really. I actually felt quite shy at first, not being that talented at rugby, but it ended up being pretty hilarious. R. even ended up doing a solo dance while I played "Superstition", which had everyone laughing. He also attempted to sing "TNT" (with me on acoustic guitar), and he was so bad, it sounded instantly legendary.
Afterwards, I hung out and chatted with the two giant young twins from Ontario, L. and C., about football and hockey. I ended up telling them the story of me trying to sing the national anthem at an Islanders home game...I also chatted with T.C., the talented New Zealander outside-half for the Premier squad. The whole while, the lager flowed, and the Fijians did up a batch of kava, their homegrown root beverage which tasted a lot like muddy pond water...
All in all, this rugby thing has turned out to be quite the adventure, and I honestly think I might have gone insane due to all of the emotional turmoil caused by - well, you know, caused by "marital difficulties" - over the past year without it. Never having played a contact sport before (my last stint on any sort of team was when I was fourteen and played baseball), it has really been a challenge in all sorts of ways. But it has really, in a way, been life-changing.
So today was a great day.