Friday, 13 July 2007

So whatís all the fuss aboutÖ?

My prevaricating over the decision about whether or not to make a rugby playing comeback at the age of 42 (or 43, as Iíll be soon after the season starts in September) is starting to look a little pathetic. Not only have there been players daft enough to continue playing into their nineties, but Iím now consistently finding evidence of players who in fact didnít take up the game at all until they were in their forties.

One such lunatic is Wes Clark, who not only didnít begin playing until he was 42, but also embraced the game with such passion that he is the author of the excellent eclectic website The Rugby Readerís Review and well as being the webmaster for his clubís (Western Suburbs RFC) website.

Inspired by a Five Nations match between Wales and Ireland in March 1998 (really?!) having stumbled across it when TV channel surfing, by July that year he was attending playersí meetings at Western Suburbs and in August found himself at pre-season training:

ďWe ran around. We ran some more. We sprinted. We sprinted and touched the ground. We passed the ball around in that stylish underhanded lofting throw so characteristic of the game and ran while we did it. Then we ran some more. I haven't done any running in the last five years and the lack of it was apparent to me. Not only was I thoroughly knackered, but that big dinner I ate kept trying to make its way up my throat to exit. Sore? I should say. A whole new world of sore. Great expanding vistas of sore. My upper legs felt like lead after about an hour of this fare. Not a high grade of lead, either, but a wobbly sort of organic lead.Ē

Youíd think that after that Wes might have been put off but no, in September he was still there, making his debut for the Western Suburbs Old Boys (or Veterans as we call them this side of the pond) in the second row. And thatís where heís remained, turning out regularly for the SOBs and the B-side and becoming an indispensable club stalwart while contributing a huge amount of rugby content on the web. Even more remarkable is that Wes didnít like, and so didnít play, sport as a kid.