Never in a million years would I have thought I would get an opportunity to play in this tournament....BUT I HAVE. It's all thanks to a ye olde teammate from college who offered me a chance to fill in as a player on her team in a random tournament. When I randomly went back to the ol' college stomping grounds to pay everyone a visit for a weekend, immediately I started texting around to people that I knew were still playing rugby. I wanted to see if anyone was playing so that I could be a spectator (with the deep alternative motive that they may need another player), and my prayers were answered! My friend told me she was playing in a tournament that really needed players immediately, so the minute I stepped off the plane into the airport I started making plans, finding cleats and shorts I could borrow, and wound up road tripping with a brand new team to a tournament!
The weekend was GREAT; I was so grateful to jump right back into rugby again and surround myself with amazing and friendly ruggers. They were all so welcoming and it was like I had already known them for years (well, obviously I had already known my friend for years and a few others but everyone else was brand new to me)! It was also quite a shell shock to realize how OUT OF SHAPE I WAS - obviously I had no idea I was going to be walking into a rugby tournament so I didn't prepare in any way, shape, or form. But I will admit that about the first 5 minutes of playing was like getting socked in the stomach multiple times in a row. When we stopped for our first scrum, it took every bone, organ, and piece of mental strength to keep myself from throwing up...HAHA. Of course I still loved every second of it, and never wanted to sub out no matter how tired I was, but it was also a really great wake up call - stay top notch fit at all times juuuuuust in case I randomly get picked up again to play rugby!
Ideally I would be able to play rugby full time on a team just like the old days, making rugby on par with a full time job, but at this point in my life I have come to accept that I just don't have that luxury. I'm young with a gargantuan stock of bills, and it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world to find a job these days. It's quite a split argument about what I should do, because other people would argue that NOW is the time to get all the rugby playing in that I can while I'm still a spring chicken, but I need to fulfill short term and long term (bills, job experience.....adult shit.) needs right now. So I guess this is a happy medium :)
It's going to be tough to train for this, especially since my social worker job drains about 90% of my energy every day. I get home from work at about 11pm (at the absolute earliest) and struggle to barely wake up before I have to leave for work all over again. But luckily I've been finding little ways to incorporate training into a busy and exhausting schedule, such as the Insanity work outs. I bought the set on ebay just for the heck of it, but Shaun T scared the shit out of me on the front cover so I never picked it up. But the workouts are no longer than 45 minutes usually so they're quick but pack a MAJOR punch....great muscle building and agility exercises. Obviously I can't rely only on that as enough fitness for the tournament, but at least it's enough for me to get something in on a daily basis and then be able to dedicate more time and energy to running and actual skill work on my weekends. Either way it's not going to be easy....but rugby isn't about easy. At all.
As Tom Hanks said in the movie A League of Their Own, "It's SUPPOSED to be hard, otherwise everyone would do it."