Thursday, March 26, 2009
Live from Powell River
I was falling...blissful sleep dangled before my closed eyes...and it kept happening. I had my ear plugs in, but I could hear a faint murmur from the back of the bus; and then, about every fifty or so seconds, the murmur would explode:
"PWAAA-HA-HA-HA-HARR-HARR-OOOO-YEAH!-HAHAHA-ARRR-(COUGH)-HAAA". And I'd wake up again.
It sounded like I was on a 17th century pirate ship. In fact, I was on the bus traveling up to Powell River, BC, to play in my second ever rugby game.
Powell River is a long way - a five hour trip each way. No wonder numbers were low. Only fourteen guys showed up, and of those, five or six were Premier League players. That's the top rugby league in town. They'd been called in to help out; the Castaway Wanderers Third Division team is brand new, after all. I suppose it will take a bit of time for things to establish themselves, including consistent attendance.
Anyway, I did finally doze off. Which was good, since I'd only gotten to bed around 2:30 the night before, and I had to wake up at 6 to catch the team bus. While I was awake, I ended up chatting with Alex - a studious chap for a rugby player - about artificial intelligence and the possibility of machine consciousness, and also with a few other guys.
Fortunately, Powell River agreed to play us fourteen on fourteen. I was at right wing again, and was fortunate to get a lot more carries than in my first game. I didn't score, but I'm getting the hang of things, and that's exciting. In fact, in the Powell River game, it felt like I was playing in an actual rugby game, rather than it feeling like I had just dropped acid and was on some sort of surreal slow-motion trip, which is how I felt in my first game. So, that was good, and once again, all the guys helped out.
Unfortunately, we lost the game due to a young Powell River player, a Fijian, who was able to break through the line and score, I think, four tries. Pity.
But...the frustration didn't last long. We got back to the clubhouse, showered, dressed, and then were treated to a great dinner by Powell River, replete with a drinking contest between four of the players, a few jolly speeches, and a lot of laughs. One thing that got a lot of laughs was this. Someone said to me, "Hey - didn't you win a Juno?".
"Yeah, two actually", I mumbled.
"You seem pretty casual about that", the guy said.
And I was totally serious when I replied, "I'd be a lot more excited if I scored a couple of tries".
For whatever reason, the entire table erupted in laughter, and the little exchange was repeated a few times on the bus home for the benefit of those who hadn't heard it. I can't explain why, but I really would be a lot more excited to score a couple of tries...!
Ah, the ride home. That was something.
You see, someone ran to the liquor store and bought an entire crate of beer as we were in line for the ferry...and, well, long story short is, the ride home made the ride there seem like a prayer meeting. Things got louder and louder, more and more raucous and frenzied, and for the last two hours, I played guitar while a bunch of the boys sang as loudly as they could: Beatles songs, Tom Petty songs, Stone Temple Pilots songs, Chili Peppers songs, Neil Young songs, dozens and dozens of songs.
Playing rugby seems to the closest thing readily available to actually joining the army and getting shot at together (always a bonding experience). Quite the experience so far.
Just keeping a log of my rugby games,