It is the night before, the morning after. I hope you are reading this then. Not after the fact. The reality is rarely as good as the promise. Sleeping Lions dream, and here we are, in Britain and Ireland, about to close our eyes.
Curious then to think, that when we wake we shall find a group of men already in the future. Saturday evening to our Saturday morn; when our dusk creeps forth tomorrow night, we will have known for some time just how good we were, or could have been. Saturday delight or our Saturday mourn.
With respect to the fat man in his red suit, this is Christmas Eve. I’m just trying to work out how good I’ve been. I’ve over indulged on rugby this year. Maybe a result tomorrow will be a step too far. Funny how you find yourself thinking like that, like your luck may run out; like this is all some sort of flip of a coin. Maybe it is. Why get so caught up in the first place? Because sport means absolutely nothing, and everything. Amidst a world that seems so broken, this is a wanted distraction. A wanton distraction.
But they won’t win. They can’t win. On a patch of grass as black as it comes. In the cold, wind and rain of an island built around the sport. They carry their babies in two hands in New Zealand. They breathe big oval breaths. Impossible is nothing, they say. But they never played forty minutes each way against the All Blacks at Eden Park.
And yet, on the precipice, ‘if’ is the word we cling to. We pass it round the campfire of potentiality, comforted by its warmth. Ideas, maybes, theories: solutions put together in our brains without consequence, unrealised and therefore, so sweet. The chance, the opportunity, moments untouched; things can be done. I want to stay here. But time taps me on the shoulder and whispers it shall wait no longer. This is the test.
Oh my boys. Our boys. That band of brothers. Go well. All those hopes and dreams of your own. The chance to tell a story for the rest of your life. Stay focused, stay true, stay on the pitch. The hope sits in the unknown. The XV tomorrow has never played a competitive match together, as a unit. What if this is the magic combination: a set of variables that somehow come together as one? Oh stop it, there I go again. See how easy it is? Don’t. It won’t. They won’t. They can’t. Can they? Shh. Don’t try and talk me out of this. I know I’m right. I’d love to be wrong. Be still my beating heart. Let the lions sleep tonight.
Sam Roberts © 2017. (Text only). All Rights Reserved