In this week’s Hooker’s Diary, John Hogan looks back on a loss that would hve been funny if it weren’t so serious.
If you’re familiar with Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ – and you’re doing something wrong if you’re not – then you’ll know that the hotel in the movie is built on a Native American burial ground.
Ever since the movie was released, fans have theorised that the location of the hotel on sacred soil is the reason behind the horrors that Jack Nicholson and his family endure during their stay at the Overlook.
Of late, I’ve started to wonder if our clubhouse and pitches might be similarly located over the resting place of some tortured souls. As far as I know, hardly any Native American tribes feature in Bruff’s history, but perhaps a more localised gaggle of supernatural tormentors are to blame. Maybe our scrummaging sessions and rucking drills have been mistaken by our ghoulish hosts as someone dancing on their graves. Or is it possible that they feel aggrieved at our use of their final resting place as a venue for our own leisure? Depending on their political persuasion, the playing of a ‘foreign game’ over their heads might also be a potential point of contention.
We’re not quite yet at the point where we have to add an exorcist to our coaching staff but I won’t be surprised if I find REⱭЯUM written on the mirror in the jacks one of these days. It would certainly go somewhere towards explaining some of the horrors that have been visited upon the Bruff team over the last few months.
It’s hard to put an age on our physio, Derry. He talks like a man who has lived a few lives and, although he assures us that he had long hair “when it was dangerous to have it”, he now sports a tightly cropped scalp. It’s very hard to tell where the razor ends and baldness begins.
That said, Derry is more athletic looking than some of the lads in Bruff that are actually still playing. He can also work a knot out of a muscle with the kind of strength that would make you wonder if he has some kind of hydraulics system powering his thumbs.
I got an insight into another potential driving force behind Derry’s knot-busting thumbs this evening when he arrived on with a bag of eggs. He has a team of chickens out the back of his house, providing him with a daily supply, and he was kind enough to bring on a few for my good self to training.
Rather than drinking from a fountain of youth, it seems Derry might be drawing his strength from an omelette of agelessness. I’ll report back shortly with the results of my sampling his wares.
In pre-recessionary Ireland, we used go on tour to locations on the continent for days at a time. Our tours these days, however, are more reflective of the country’s current fiscal situation.
Instead of gallivanting around Europe for a few days, we now just choose to stay overnight in a location following one of our away games.
With Highfield this weekend’s opponents, it was decided tonight that Cork would be this year’s lucky host of the Annual Bruff “One Night Only” Tour.
The aforementioned, quite-possibly-real, tortured souls buried under Kilballyowen must have access to some kind of spectral, underground railroad because they seemed to follow us down to Highfield today.
With the score at 16-12 to us, and the ball in our possession, the referee informed us that the next time the ball went out of play the game was finished. The ball was passed from a ruck back to Declan Bannon, who attempted to kick it out of play over our own goal line. Fate and possibly some vengeful spirits conspired, however, and Deccie’s kick fell short of the dead ball line, landing instead around our try line. Highfield couldn’t believe their luck and gladly accepted the undeserved gift. The final whistle was blown as they missed the conversion.
Naturally, Deccie was devastated and naturally, our merciless slagging about his manky kick started before we even left the dressing room after the game. It’s the most sincere way of offering comfort that we know, and Deccie is fully aware that he can expect to be subjected to increasingly imaginative and varied ribbing from now until roughly the end of time.