Again, slacking a little with updates recently, so apologies for that – it’s been a stupidly busy few weeks, and whilst there’s lots happening on the field it seems to be the happenings off the field that monopolise my time!
So, on the field, the Gladiators are STILL undefeated. If you include the Pre-season we’ve played 12, won 12 and are now returning to the National Championship after 20 years away. So, the Gladiators are travelling to Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday 26th September 2009 for the Division 2 championship game vs. the Leicester Falcons. It’ll be the most challenging game we play this year, and a game that will test us more than we’ve been tested since we were in Division one. However, everyone’s in good spirits – training has been lifted to 3 times a week in the run up to the final, and so far the turnout has been very respectable. The last big session will be this Sunday, so hopefully we’ll have a decent opportunity to rep everything before the big game. If you can’t make it to Doncaster, then BAFL have assured us that they’ll professionally film the game, and that it will be available for purchase as soon as possible. Knowing BAFL as i do, that means that just about the time that the youth team begin drawing their pension, they’ll be able to spend their first pension cheque on a shiny new DVD.
Talking of the Youth team, they’ve had a fantastic year too. They made the playoffs in their first year of playing, and lost to the reigning National Champions, the London Warriors, in a game where the score simply didn’t reflect the balance of the game. Everyone in the club is incredibly proud of the youth team, not least Head Coach Dave Hogarth, who deserves tremendous credit for picking up the reigns of the programme and turning it from the poor relation into a serious force in Youth football in the UK. Expect big things from them.
And talking of big things…no, not you Tommy… 5 of the Gladiators Youth have been invited to the Great Britain Lions Youth training camp in October. Congratulations to A-Jay, Ant, Fab, Curtis and Bing. Hopefully we’ll have all of them on the flight to Poland at the end of October.
So, that just about covers the on field things, now we move into the more interesting area – off the field….
I guess the funniest moments recently have revolved around our very own Defensive dynamo, Dave Crane. Dave is never backwards in coming forwards, and just being around him is often enough to make you giggle, so let me walk you through the debauchery of Dave.
So, a while ago now Dave arrived for a game and there was something a little different about him. We couldn’t quite put our finger on it, and then someone had the eureka moment…. He had blue hair. Now, normally this would pass with merely the odd comment here or there. However, Dave’s normal complexion is such that an Albino Polar Bear looks dark when stood near him. I couldn’t quite articulate how he looked other than to say that he looked as though they’d tried to turn him into a member of the Blue Man Group, but ran out of blue pretty quickly. He’ll tell you that he was showing his allegiance to the Gladiators. Truth is, he dived into a swimming pool with too much Chlorine in…
However, as ever, hair grows (except on my head where it recedes dramatically), and soon the blue had gone. Still, that was not the end of Dave’s comic genius.
Let me set the scene, there are four or five of us at the house Dave shares with Mark. We’re chilling out, watching garbage on TV, and the call goes up for a takeaway. Dave, being the Essex trailer trash that he is, instantly called for fried chicken. Being the finely tuned athlete that i am i couldn’t cope with that, and so after some discussion we decided that Chinese was the way forward. Now, choosing Chinese food is a relatively straightforward task – i’d wager that most households in the UK, when ordering Chinese, whip out a menu, look through everything, argue about what “Kung Pow Chicken” actually is, and then order the exact same combination of dishes as they did last time they ordered Chinese. It’s fair to say that that scene was reminiscent of our situation here. So, Dave eventually concedes that he could have a quarter duck and it would be far better than fried chicken – ultimately fried poultry seemed to be Dave’s food of choice. So he’s after something to accompany it, and all of a sudden a quizzical look comes across his face. I steel myself ready to explain what Kung Pow chicken is, and instead Dave comes up with a slightly different question…. “why the hell would you have a dish containing fish and chicken?”
“Erm, what are you talking about mate?”
“You’ve been a chef, have you ever done a dish with fish and chicken?”
“I can’t say that i have…”
“And what the hell is Minge Trout? sounds like trout that’s on the turn!”
“Hang on, let me see the menu…”
Yes, you guessed it, Dave couldn’t distinguish between the fictional Minge Trout and factual Mange Tout on a menu. Note to self – invent Minge trout to serve for Dave’s birthday. Perhaps some kind of steamed trout on a bed of mange tout….
And the final ignominy of Dave’s recent days was an experience at Sloppy Joes – for those who don’t know, Sloppy Joes are an American diner in Colchester who are a long standing supporter of the Gladiators. Following our semi-final win against Hampshire Thrashers we all ventured to Sloppy Joes for food and celebration – about 25 of us. Needless to say, when you’re waiting for service for 25 people on a sunday night, stomachs start to rumble. So, someone, not sat a million miles from me began commenting on how hungry they were, and kept glancing over my shoulder. It was only when i turned around did i see that they were looking at a table behind me who had departed and left an entire pizza untouched. So, being the chivalrous chap i was, i retrieved the pizza for the hungry contingent. Dave was shocked by this, and shrunk away from the entire event. I thought no more of it and began talking and circulating around the Gladiators crowd. It was only after this that we realised the people who left the pizza were in fact still inside the restaurant, paying before they left. They spotted that a pizza had moved, and leant over, to pass comment. Seeing Dave shrinking away from the entire affair they naturally assumed that he was the culprit and targeted their vitriol at him before stomping up the stairs. Dave’s expression can only be described as flabbergasted, whilst the remainder of the team erupted in laughter, and the pizza was promptly torn to pieces.
So, the saga of Dave draws to a close at this point – no doubt there’ll be more to add, and hopefully plenty from everyone in the aftermath of a Britbowl victory next week….