Monday, 22 April 2013

My Life as a Hooker

Not only did I use my recent week in Fuerteventura to kick start the Total Flanker annual fitness drive, I also took the opportunity to catch up on a little reading and amongst the literary tomes consumed next to the pool was a certain "My Life as a Hooker" by Steven Guage.

The book charts the author's attempts to stave off an impending midlife crisis by taking up the game of rugby at the age of 35, charting his debut at hooker for Warlingham 3rd XV and then his subsequent "elevation" to the heady heights of 4th XV skipper and the rise of his team from being the third worst team in the county to being Surrey Foundation League Champions.


Not only is this a funny and self-deprecating account of a short, fat, middle-aged man's rugby journey, it also captures the essence of junior club rugby in England - the club politics, the challenges of putting out four teams each week and the trials and tribulations of one man trying to organise roughly fifteen blokes to turn up in the same place at more or less the same time every Saturday. Anyone who has played rugby at that level will recognise the stories, the anecdotes and the characters described as being very, very familiar indeed.


It's also a heart-warming account of the inclusiveness of the game of rugby - something I'm sure we've all experienced - perhaps best typified by Guage's 4th XV motto: "No one gives anyone any shit for being shit." Brilliant.


Thoroughly recommended for anyone in need of cheering up...




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