I tell you, supporting Wales at rugby is a hard slog. For my whole life, I have taken some really serious shit over it – some of it extremely physical (I went to a ‘robust’ school). Despite them being utter garbage for much of my life (and I mean PROPER RUBBISH), they have fought a fairly mountainous route in attempting to become a credible world rugby force. 3 Grand Slams (2005, 2008, 2012) and a championship (2013) should have established them as a consistent and genuine force of world rugby. Even going as far as getting to the semi-finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In some ways hardest and most impressive of all, they fought their way out of the infamous “Group of Death” in Rugby World Cup 2015 by beating hosts England, and Australia and doing so with the longest injury list in the history of the sport; I think the locker room cleaner had his boots on at one point.
To read this, you’d think a supporter should be quite content. By oh no, this is Wales we are talking about. While there are beautiful trophies in the cabinet, this does not take in to account the tragic lows. There was the 5th placing in 2006 Six Nations – 1 year after the Grand Slam. There was the 5th place in 2007. The 4th places in 2009 and 2010 and 2011 – after the Grand Slam of 2008! oh, and I can’t forget the beating by Japan during the last Lions Series – yes, we supplied the bulk of the Lions team (and beat Australia) but still – JAPAN!!
There is also the complete psychological block that permeates Welshmen everywhere when it comes to the ‘Big 3’ of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Whatever it is, we simply cannot get any run against those 3. We’ve had them here for tours, one offs and we’ve visited them for tours. It doesn’t matter. We get hammered or we get devastatingly close – there’s very, very rarely a win and no middle ground. We even got destroyed by a NZ provincial team on tour this year. I don’t care what people say, it really is psychological and as a coach, I find it fascinating. New faces come in, we show so much promise and we get close but after a few beatings, heads drop and it’s back to normal. Yet Ireland have just beaten New Zealand for the first time in 111 years. But then, they don’t appear to fear anyone. Ever.
And so it was again this Saturday. Australia, supposedly weakened and after a hard-fought Rugby Championship against NZ / Argentina / SA, were coming for a Northern Hemisphere tour, opening with Wales. It was to be (yet again) our best chance in years to take them on and beat them. Instead, what transpired was an utter horror show that is only not reflected in the score line because Australia gave a clown demonstration on 3 occasions and completely fluffed golden-edged opportunities to score. Pace, flair, off-loading in the tackle, not flooding the tackle area with people, support runners – all the aspects of the 2005 Grand Slam, completely and utterly devoid 11 years later. Australia had it all and more. Our ‘power play’ tactics were out-thought over 4 years ago yet blindly we appear to continue on.
And it’s Argentina next week – I’m genuinely afraid for the Welsh team. Knowing them though, they’ll actually show up and we’ll win in emphatic fashion!
I can say with complete certainty that supporting Wales is a tough one. In order to appreciate the glorious highs, you must take with it the most bitter and cavernous depths. I’ll always do so, with my whole heart, but trying to explain it to my kids is as tough now as it was for my dad with me.
I miss you, Dad, but thank you.
It’s supposed to be a rest week this week; I’ve been feeling quite run down and even had a little bit of a cold over the weekend. However, that appears to have gone and while I’m happy to rest from the early morning shenanigans (because it is BLOODY COLD OUT THERE!), I need to get in to the box.
1 RM Weighted Pull Up
5 x 8kg / 3 x 16kg / 20 / 24 / 28 / 32kg
Head not in the game.
5 Rounds of, 4 min Window:
- 200m Run
- 35 x Double understand
- 10 x Burpees
Score = slowest time
1:46 / 1:52 / 2:07 / 2:45 / 2:10
Rounds 1, 2 and 3 were ‘okay’. The run was at about 75% pace, the double-unders were ropey to say the least but the burpees more than made up for it. Then came round 4. Then I lost my shit. Well, just before that bit, I completed the run, picked up the rope and couldn’t get past 9 double unders! I just couldn’t coordinate my arms and legs. Like Phoebe from “Friends”, I was unable to get anything in time, tripping over the rope and wasting time. All the hard work of the first 3 rounds seemingly wasted as I spent time like a newbie. So then I lost my shit, hurled the rope across the room and was ready to just stop right there.
But, of course, I didn’t. I didn’t because the time spent in the first 3 rounds wasn’t wasted and there was still a 5th round to go.
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘competition’ but I’m not there for that. The competitive aspect makes me work harder but it isn’t the end in itself, it is merely a means to achieving my goals. The workout (despite getting a Wales-like score) was not a waste. I worked hard and I’ll be fitter for it. Yes, I threw my toys out like a petulant child but that is a symptom of just where my head is at right now (other story) and not CrossFit.
Back on the Wagon – almost
- Breakfast: 2 x Scrambled Eggs on bed of Spinach & Rocket
- Snack: 10g mixed nuts
- Lunch: 3 x Scrambled Eggs on Spinach & Rocket, 1 x small Apple
- Snack: 2 x 10g mixed Nuts
- Dinner: Leftover Roast Dinner w/ Sausages (small chinese takeaway tub size)
- Post-WOD: 25g PhD Diet Whey
- Desert: 1 portion Apple Strudel and Custard (from the weekend) – NOM!