Its all coming up so fast. I have less than three weeks till I cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, 6 Weeks till I attempt to break a world record for rugby. I’ve so much to do in terms of the organisation as well as take part in the events myself. Not to mention that I am playing a rugby match at Kingsholm, against some of my heroes. Yes i am excited about all this, yes I am crapping my pants about all i’ve got to do for it, yes I’m worried about if we can do it all, yes i’m thinking i will give it my all and prove a lot of people wrong, and that i will show a lot of people they were right to put the support and belief they’ve placed in me. But most of all, today I am sad.
I am sad that I have to do all this in the first place, for, you see if my dad was still alive i would never have had to do any of it. The truth is, its hard to know how life would have been if he was here. I don’t think i’d have the same focus and chip on my shoulder that drives me on so much, but equally i’ d have my dad with me. If it wasn’t for my dad, I’d not have a love, nor an obsession, with the sport of rugby or of the greatest team in the world; Gloucester. I loved going as a kid. to start with I didn’t really understand the sport (i still don’t know all the laws!) but i didn’t care as I got to spend time with my dad. My brother didn’t always go, so it was time for me and my dad and i grew to love it, the atmosphere, the passion, the spectacle, the lot. I’ll never forget how much it meant to dad and its the same for me now. I can have a great weekend ruined by a Glos score, I know deep down its only a sport and it shouldn’t be like that, but I don’t care, i love it. I grew to love the players as a boy and to be playing them is going to be an honour.
But can I let you in on a secret, deep down I wish the game wasn’t going ahead. I wish I was in the stand watching my heroes, beer in hand, talking to my biggest hero, my dad watching someone else play them. It still makes me angry at times that he was taken from us so young, I never got to know him as a man, to share a beer, to argue, to get advice, to be driven mad by him. I had 11 years with him and i wish I’d treasured them more. I’d swap the bike ride, the game, all of it it for as many more as i can get.
But the reality is I cannot do that. The above is not to get sympathy, I am blessed really. I have an amazing family who support me and fight for me through everything. I have the best girlfriend anyone can ask for, who backs me 100% and puts up with my childish nature, nerdyness and sporting obsession. And I have the best group of friends, I could ask for, who have given up time and money to help me raise money. The fact that I get to play in the same side as them to raise money for the charity is an honour and a priviledge, i love them all for being prepared to destroy their bodies to achieve this.
What the above is, is a reminded of how lucky I am, that I had a charity like Winstons wish to support me, when I need help. At 11 how do you deal with the death of a parent, you can’t, not without help. I cannot imagine how it was for stu who was 9, or for people younger who have suffered.
So the reality is I have to do all of this, I will succeed, the Gremlins and self doubt can fuck right off, i’m bored of it now. But thats where all you lot come in. If all of this is to be a success it will be measured by what we do for Winstons Wish. That comes from raising awareness and as much money as possible.
So please if you are reading this, donate a quid, just a quid, hell more if you feel like it but whats a quid really? Then share the link. Please. The other week 49 people viewed this page, thats 49 quid and 49 shares of the page. It makes more of a difference than you imagine:
Trust me, its just as, if not more significant, that what i’m actually doing.
I’m no good with words, I’m no athlete, and I don’t have a lot of money to give. So I cannot help the charity in those ways. What I am, thanks to my mum and dad, is a stubborn, determined little shit, who doesn’t know when he’s beat. So I promise you i’ll cycle the length of the country and we will smash the world record for rugby. All I ask is you show your support so it means something. I cannot thank you enough if you do.
So what do you say dad, shall we go out and do this? And i’ll look forward to coming out onto that pitch, knowing you’ll be somewhere with a beer waiting to take the piss when the pickers cut me in half. And you’ll toast me when i get to John O’Groats. And both times i’ll take time out to remember you, miss you and tell you I love you.