Playing for Santa Monica Dolphins in California, living on the beach, living the proverbial dream, I receive an email from Rugby Lions, telling the tale of a new ‘multi-millionaire’ owner Michael Aland, who was looking to take the club to the Premiership, 30,000 seater stadium, etc. etc. With a history of this happening in the past (Walter Mitty and Caldy RFC), my first reaction was scepticism. Then I saw the names of Neil Back, Ben Gollings, Andy Vilk, Leigh Hinton and others were on board and thought the opportunity to come back and have a season of name-dropping to my mates was too good to miss. What followed was somewhat different. Tall tales of offshore transactions, cashiers not being able to count the vast amounts of cash deposited before closing hours and one digit errors on bank transfers were all trotted out. The stark truth was that none of us were paid what we were supposed to be paid and some got paid nothing at all – all this while winning the league and cup! Relationships were tested to breaking point and squad members with young families had to eek their way through a painful 12 months. The moral of the story: ensure you do stringent background checks on anyone that wishes to “invest” in your club. Question everything and leave no stone unturned.
TRP verdict: He was the millionaire short(of)bread who really did take the biscuit. You’re in.
2. City Life
Born and bred in Birmingham, I’ve always lived in a city environment. Many of my friends moved to London or other cities to chase the coin and join the rat race and I always thought it was the way forward. But last August I moved to play for Chinnor RFC and start a job at Ashfold School, a private prep school in a Jacobean Mansion in the royal county of Buckinghamshire. I’ll never look back! Instead of being stuck for hours on the M6, or battling on public transport at peak times, squashed against the man who doesn’t know how to brush his teeth or apply a sufficient amount of deodorant, I now have the occasional stop for the odd sheep who’s strayed from the field and taken up residence in the middle of a one track country lane. It’s quieter, it’s cleaner and the people say hello, rather than cross the road because it’s chilly out and I have my hood up!
TRP verdict: You’ve raised the baa…2 out of 2
3. Being single
Although I always thought that being a LAD was of paramount importance, there are many drawbacks to single life which I do not miss. Yes, I have the occasional tut and head shake when I turn up home after a few too many ales, but at least I know I’ll be put to bed and looked after. No more one-eyed texting to girls at 2am, only to regret it in the morning. No more hours of groundwork just to be to be stuck in the infamous “friendzone”. If I pass out on the sofa, I know I won’t have permanent marker drawings scrawled on my face, something I’ll then have to awkwardly explain away at work the next day; no one will take off my clothes and take a picture to circulate on ‘SnapChat’, and there is no more waiting for two hours to reply to a text during courtship, as to not seem too keen. Things are simple: Nod when she talks, unless she frowns, then say “only joking”.
TRP verdict: You’ve got yourself another date in Room 101.
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