When a man turns 50, it is a time of reflection. It’s the sort of thing that gives an individual pause for thought. What is the higher meaning of life? How can the collective group that is mankind profit from one blokes endeavour? If there are no guarantees and nothing lasts forever – then what’s the fucking point?
I had a strange dream last night. I dreamed I played myself in a game of squash.It was a great game, me testing myself against me in an individual’s ultimate challenge…themselves.
I awoke before the ultimate outcome had been reached, but to be fair, it was clear that I was profiting from the pressure I was able to exert on myself and it was the effort and process that were far more important than the result anyhow.
Down to the team breakfast, and I beheld a group of men, a unique group of men, united in the struggle against adversity and the common foe – David Nucifora and the High Performance Unit of the ARU.
Before me was a table of gifts as the collective group sang “Happy Birthday” with gusto. George said a few words – literally. “Happy Birthday” said he. George always lets actions speak louder than words. For example his grubber kicks say “fuck it”.
The blokes implored me to open the gifts they had assembled, a unique group of gifts. I allowed myself a moment of introspection and decided the way for the group to move forward was for me to open the gifts.
The first gift was from Drew Mitchell, a hair straightener, a fine gift. Next was new blue jumper from Berrick, a purposeful young man. I’m told he usually prefers the colour red so it was a sign he had stepped out of his comfort zone and grown as an individual.
Richard Brown, while not currently part of the group, had made me a big yellow card.
Al Baxter was not there either but had still chosen to mark the occasion. Unfortunately as Al explained in a telegram, he had made something for me but it had collapsed during the Bledisloe game in Sydney and he was unable to prop it up. He was hoping a few of his club-mates might be able to help him out this weekend.
Things became a bit raucous at that stage as Quade and JO’C started a food fight, just young men being young men to be fair.
Tatafu had to get of few of the blokes to help me open his gift. It was a barn door, how thoughtful. I could tell it was the same barn door he had been trying to hit at training as there wasn’t a mark on it.
Rocky Elsom is a magnificent bloke. He gave me what he said was the new Rocky movie, “Rocky XII – Rock is King”. I was only able to watch the previews but it seemed to all take place in Ireland – I didn’t know Balboa played rugby?
The mungoes didn’t forget me with Lote giving me French Letter and Timana a Monopoly set. On closer inspection it seemed as though all the ‘get out of jail free’ cards were missing.
A member of a previous unique group, Phil Waugh, left me a gift at my home. It was a severed head – still bleeding. In keeping with the man.
There were other gifts from outside our collective group of individuals. I received a gift voucher for a facial from Schalk, a dingo skin from Peter de Villiers that Bakkies had shot, a duck’s egg from my old adversary Graham Henery and a birthday pie from Grig Growden (also 50 just yesterday). Richie McCaw didn’t forget his old mate and gave me a book on wildlife about Cheetahs. There was a Springbok jersey from Mitch. Confusing.
I was also remembered by my predecessors Eddie and John, they gave me a fine looking chalice with the words ‘POISONED’ engraved on it – Aussie humour I guess.
The last package I opened was one from John O’Neil. It was a large document filled with plenty of clauses, confidentiality agreements and legal jargon. It came with a hand written note that signed off with the sentence “WIN OR FUCK OFF”
A truly motivating gift.