learning something – yarsPosted: June 1, 2013
At eighteen I joined a rugby club. Though I was five years younger than the youngest of the club players, they were a fun welcoming bunch. I’d chat a bit with most of the fellows but in the entire first season I never uttered a single syllable toward George. At the prime of his career, late twenties or early thirties in age, George was the star and leader of the team. Veterans ( unlike me who dared talk to George ) called him Bear, and he was bearlike, with thick forearms, wide shoulders and a massive neck, and that was topped with a ferocious Fu Manchu mustache and red hair.
In matches, George would crash into three opponents and drive them back and turn presenting the ball calling out “On me, On me.” Everyone was a step faster and hit harder as though his will infused with our own. Once near the end of practice that first year he came up to me and said in gruff gravely tones “Who are you?” I somehow squeaked out my name, “Bill”.
About eight years later, I am in the prime of my career as a solid player, and George is still a good player, but no longer the dominant player of before. We were playing our cross town rival the West Side Rovers and on the kickoff, my man did something cheap and dangerous. In the resulting tussle, I may have punched him in the face, well three times, and for the only time in my thirteen year career I was thrown out. I watched dejected on the sidelines sitting with my head in my hands as we lost playing fourteen against fifteen, the fifteenth me, kicked out.
After the game, I was sitting forlornly on the sideline and George sat down next to me and put his arm across my shoulders and said, “Billy – I’m sorry you got thrown out, but I’m glad you punched him. It shows you learned something.”
Moral: Sometimes you need to fight – and heroes can make things better.
YARS – yet another rugby story