Who the hell in their right mind ever bought a return flight for three days to the Bahamas? Oh yeah, that would be me.
However (is that a good ‘but’ replacement to start a sentence with?).. over the next two years that son of mine may waft away from committed training like a crisp bag on a breeze; preferring instead the call of commitment to a girlfriend, or he may feel the draw of parties and summer-long evenings drinking beers on the beach with mates, staring up the stars and dreaming of far away places.
There is no denying that for an athlete aged 18 whose fingertips are millimetres from the adult world of the 5 rings, there is a choice to be made and no-one can make it. Except him.
We’ve always kept a pressure-free zone in the house, even before a rugby festival, when his peers may have listened to the haka en route to a fixture, we would be giggling about something non-rugby related; a typically relaxed journey.
Home is his place to relax (although he did build a personal gym in one of the sheds two years ago). He asked for my help, handing him rings and pulleys and washers. I left him alone to read the instruction leaflet, to make a mistake and to put it right. I provided refreshments, an extra pair of hands and no judgment.
My reward was being able to use it, so I did. About three times.
Anyway, you want to know how he did out there don’t you?
He needed to throw 57m to even be considered and managed that finally in early June, at a big throws competition in Bedford (I arrived just in time to see it having flown down the motorway from Yorkshire 👌🏼). He threw 58.
The competition from throwers around the world was astonishing; and the age group he was now part of was and is the U20s .. and he was 17 last summer. His competitors were all older and had attended Internationals before. While he did not win a podium position, he threw three clean throws, by that we mean they landed within the white side markers and point first, which after all is the idea of a spear!
If he does continue to strive and learn and train and practice and stay in the top ten, giving himself the opportunity to be selected in the future, he has an International under his belt.
If he chooses not to take this any further, he had his moment wearing a shirt for his country and I was there to see it 🌹