As the one time renowned American funk band from Washington D.C. would have it: “Trouble over there, trouble over here, everywhere I look I’m in trouble.

Trouble was, I couldn’t look very far on those early days in my rugby career: certainly not far enough to side step the 20 stone trouble that hurtled towards me, ball tucked neatly in his arm pit, intent on obliterating anything that stood in his goal of crossing the try line only then to delicately place the ball under the goal posts, arranging it in such a way that the brand name was visible from the centre spot of the pitch.

And also not far enough to catch sight of our PE coach, Mr. Basset, wrapped up in his permanent royal purple Lycra regalia, gesticulating at me furiously from the touch line, wrists pumping in vain through the fog.

I sighed, still reeling from the earlier collision with the HGV which had found its way playing for the opposition and which had just driven through me to score the final points of the afternoon. 64-0 to them. Not an unusual result for us. We’d known worse and the trouble that would ensue after the game would at least be expected.

We could at least look forward to a substantial tea. sandwiches, pasta and plates of cold chips more than adequately made up for the disappointment of the previous 80′ on the pitch.

“Evans?”
“Yes sir?”
“Call yourself a full back?”
“No sir.”
“What do you call yourself Evans?”
“Hopeless sir.”
“There’s no room at the Inn for the hopeless Evans.”
“I know sir.”
“We need the hopeful Evans. The enthusiastic. The spirited. The never-say-die. Not the want-to-run-away”.
“Yes sir.”
“Next week Evans you’re consigned to the showers pre- and post-match. If that doesn’t shift you from hopeless to hopeful I don’t know what will.”
“Thank you sir. I’ll value the learning experience.”

Terrific. Looking after the showers for the match. Just what I always wanted. Not. If I thought I had seen trouble this afternoon, I had yet to deal with the trouble in the showers.