The return….

Ok, so i’ll hold my had up and admit, it’s taken some time for me to update the blog. I’ve been busy, what with training, and social events, and player registrations (when people can be bothered), but that’s no excuse for poor workmanship, so i consider myself thoroughly berated. Bearing in mind the hoards of you who have requested that i update it (“hoards” equating to 5 people) i can tell that my contribution is valued above all others! So, with that in mind, i thought i’d give a brief overview of things that have happened since the last update, and my perspective on where we are now…So, i suppose the first thing to say was that after being let down by the US All Stars this year we had a mad panic to find another team to play us in the preseason. If you ask me, that just proves that there’s no such thing as an American “star”. More like American Drama Queens if you ask me, but that’s a conversation for another day (what’s that? Me? Bitter about Americans? Well, i got pancaked by one when i played in the US, but that only happened once, and the next play i took him down! Not that i’m one to hold a grudge…)Many teams were mentioned as possible opponents, and we scoured the BAFL ranks for opposition worthy of the trip to our illustrious home ground. Such prominent and exceptional teams as the Chiltern Cheetahs, Reading Renegades, and even the Shropshire Revolution were mentioned, but each of them were clearly far too overwhelmed at the prospect of facing the blue and gold wrecking machine in their own back yard. Well, in truth most had other plans at Easter, but i like to think they could have come if they’d wanted to – they just didn’t fancy trying an Easter Egg hunt with broken legs…In the end, each of the committee had to bite the bullet and invite they who must not be named… (for those unsure of who i’m referring to, think local rivals, who wear a sort of maroon colour – i mean seriously, who wears maroon? It’s so 1982….). So with that the Ip***ch Car****ls (even typing the name leaves a bad taste in the mouth) agreed to come to fortress Broad Lane and take on Coach Roberts’ Barmy Army.

The weather leading up to the game was somewhat inclement, and at one point, after dusk, three intrepid club men were reduced to emptying bucket after bucket of water from the drains in order to try to allow the pitch to dry. Snow, sleet, hail, and ever more rain ensued, and as we all sat comfortably indoors on Friday the phone rang. I answered it with trepidation…

“Tom, it’s Dave. We have to call the game off…”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I’m pretty sure the guys in Ipswich could hear my reaction from here. Despite pleading to reconsider, Dave eloquently pitched the argument that we play football and not water polo, and so the field would not be suitable. Reluctantly i agreed, and sent out notification to everyone. Despair and anguish settled over Colchester over Easter, and tensions ran high at training the following day.

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But, despite this miserable pre-season, the social side of the club is stronger than ever. We’ve held the first quiz night of the year, as well as the inaugural Rookies and Legends night, both were fairly well attended, and hopefully will allow the social side of the club to grow and grow. So, the quiz night – our dear old friend Eric from our Wednesday night quiz agreed to take the reigns and he didn’t disappoint. Sure enough, Eric’s quiz was impeccable, and the teams there all left happy. Despite only making a small profit, i think that the entire night was worthwhile just for Tommy Clarke’s input on our team. When faced with any question, Tommy would immediately agree with whichever suggestion was voiced first, vehemently throwing his support behind it, regardless of what it was. So, let me set the scene… tension is high, silence around the room, Eric’s commanding presence dominationg as it always does. He raises the microphone to his lips and, in his long Stoke drawl utters, “Who lives in a ‘very grand house in the middle of a beach tree’ in the Hundred Acre Wood?”

Adam Burrows, in his infinite wisdom immediately says “Well that’s easy, it was Eeyore, the donkey”. Tommy jumps in.. “Absolutely, top shout that Rugby, got to be Eeyore, stick it down.” Duncan pauses before asking, “Are you sure? That doesn’t make sense to me.”

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 “Absolutely, it’s Eeyore, no doubt about it!”, Tommy retorts.

“I’m not convinced” I reply. “I’m with Duncan here, that doesn’t make sense.”

“I’m telling you, it’s Eeyore, i’d stake my reputation on it!” Tommy exclaims. “How can you say it doesn’t make sense!”

“Well,” Duncan replies, “He said at the start of the round that the next 10 questions were all related to pigs. So, logically the answer would be Piglet…”

Tommy sits back in his chair, somewhat dumbstruck, and waits for the next question to re-assert himself further…

However, I’m perhaps being a little harsh on Tommy – he did pretty well helping me with the Rookies and Legends night. He came shopping with me, and proceeded to stock up his own freezer. I let him choose some sort of sweet component for the buffet, and he opted for Giant Chocolate Discs, insisting that they’d go down a storm. I disagreed, and we had a little wager that my Honey and Mustard sausages would go down better than his chocolate discs. Needless to say, within an hour, my sausages had disappeared, and at the end of the night there was a black bag full of chocolate discs…

On the subject of the Rookies and Legends night, all in all i think it was a great success. I mean, let’s face it, you know it’s been a good night when Rick Rotondo starts talking about licking a Mr. Whippy on the toilet… I mean, be honest, it’s an image you never even considered, but now you’re left wondering how you ever survived without it…

Rick was a great speaker – animated, enthusiastic, interesting and most of all a guy that people see and respect. He’s a guy that people aspire to be like, and he raises the level of those around him. Our second speaker, Coach Roberts, may not fulfil all those criteria at the moment, but let’s face it, not all of us have a story about ice cream in the lavatory!

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We managed to award almost all the shirts for our rookie class too – 20+ guys receiving their first Gladiators jersey. It’s a great achievement and we have high hopes for all of them. However, we also hope that next year’s group can drink, because this year they got stuffed in the Rookies vs. Legends boat race…

But, social events aren’t the only thing we’ve been organising this year… So far we’ve managed to pay a visit to Manningtree school, where our first 2008 mascot (Harry Hornsby) is a pupil. We conducted 4 PE lessons, and managed not to injure any kids in the process (despite really wanting to in the case of some of the year 10s!). As a result we’ve had a big picture in the Evening Gazette, as well as being featured on Anglia News (hopefully i’ll have a copy of this shortly, and i’ll try to post it if i can). So, three things have come out of that… firstly, we’re famous! Secondly, we know that Dave missed his calling in life, and should have been a teacher, and finally that Tommy Clarke and Adam Burrows must never, ever, ever be left in control of 15 year old girls…

gmschoolblog1.jpg  gmschoolblog2.jpg  gmschoolblog3.jpg Also on the horizon are the first ever Gladiators online advertisements. That’s right, Rick Rotondo – Sloppy Joes Quality Control, has been filmed and is currently in post-production as we speak. Rick (or the angry gay pirate as he was affectionately nicknamed at the shoot) managed to tear Sloppy Joes to pieces, and you could tell from the glint in his eyes that he loved every minute of it. Tommy Clarke flew over tables, and then flew over them again so we could film him without him laughing. He got thrown up against a wall a dozen times because he couldn’t grasp the petrified expression he needed to make (fortunately Rugby was there to help, and immediately suggested that Tommy use his “happy face”. Having seen it first hand, Burrows knew exactly what it looked like, and as it transpired, the grimace Tommy makes on the vinegar strokes is the look of pure terror… Rugby himself got creamed – well, Salad creamed. Mind you, Rick also gave me a good dose of cream on the face… as he slammed my head into a large cake. Brad Stevenson got to get all greased up, as he had his head driven into the hotplate, and then, as Tommy got dragged backwards up the stairs, we knew we were on a winner! Again, once these are release, i’ll try to post them up here…

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So, with all of this stuff out of the way we’re looking at the new season. 10 games, 10 chances to make an impression, 10 chances to show BAFL that we mean business, and most importantly, 10 chances for Duncan to moan about his blocking…

However, not everyone will be able to play the first game. Mainly because they haven’t completed their fricking registration forms! It’s not rocket science, and i’ve given them enough warning… Sometimes i wonder if people ever actually listen, and what goes through their heads whilst i’m talking…

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Anyway, rant over for now.

So,the season continues and promises to be as long as our committee meetings (after 4 meetings, we’ve averaged 5 hours 15 mins per meeting, and never finished before 1am), but we’re a well oiled machine and we’re ready for it… I hope!

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