Why the hell you played the game!

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

When the battle scars have faded

And the truth becomes a lie

And the weekend smell of liniment

Could almost make you cry.

When the last ruck's well behind you

And the man that ran now walks

It doesn't matter who you are

The mirror sometimes talks.

Have a good hard look old son

The melon's not that great

The snoz that takes a sharp turn sideways

Used to be dead straight.

You're an advert for arthritis

You're a thoroughbred gone lame

Then you ask yourself the question

Why the hell you played the game!

Was there logic in the head knocks

In the corks and in the cuts

Did common sense get pushed aside

By manliness and guts?

Do you sometimes sit and wonder

Why your time would often pass

In a tangled mess of bodies

With your head up someone's ______ ?

With a thumb hooked up your nostril

Scratching gently on your brain

And an overgrown Neanderthal

Rejoicing in your pain.

Mate, you must recall the jersey

That was shredded into rags

Then the soothing sting of Dettol

On a back engraved with tags.

It's almost worth admitting

Though with some degree of shame

That your wife was right in asking

Why the hell you played the game!

Why you'd always rock home legless

Like a cow on rollerskates

After drinking at the clubrooms

With your lowdown drunken mates.

Then you'd wake up – check your wallet

Not a solitary coin

Drink Berocca by the bucket

Throw an icepack on your groin!

Copping Sunday morning sermons

About boozers being losers

While you limped like Quasimodo

With a hundred different bruises!

Yes – an urge to hug the porcelain

And curse the Lion Red name

Would always pose the question

Why the hell you played the game!

And yet, with every wound re-opened

As you grimly reminisce it

Comes the most compelling feeling yet

God, you really bloody miss it!

From the first time that you laced a boot

And tightened every stud

That virus known as rugby

Has been living in your blood!

When you dreamt it, when you played it

All the rest took second fiddle

Now you're standing on the sideline

But your heart's out in the middle!

And no matter where you travel

You can take it as expected

There will always be a breed of folk

Equally infected!

If there's a teammate, then you'll find him

Like a gravitating force

With a common understanding

And a beer or three of course!

And as you stand there telling lies

Like it was yesterday, old friend,

You'll know that if you had the choice

You would do it all again!

You see, that is the thing with Rugby

It will always be the same

And that, I guarantee, is why

The hell you played the game!

Rupert McCall