Emlyn Gropensteigler speaks!...Schooldays....The Rugby Match!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
Emlyn Gropensteigler's schooldays diaries reveal many things. The time that he played for the school rugby team in interesting conditions will live with him forever. It couldn't happen today.....?

Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Submitted: December 25, 2011




Once again we have the dubious pleasure of uncovering a few details about the early life of Emlyn Gropensteigler, known to all now as EG. This early entry from the diary he kept whilst still at an English  school for the sons of gentlemen, tells what happened when he was chosen to play rugby for the school first XV. You will, of course, have to excuse the odd profanity as EG never cared too much about minor details such as bad language. Indeed he used it on at least 2 occasions. Some people people don't believe this entry. It couldn't happen, they said..... It did...... It really did!


Wednesday.....Awakened at the crack of dawn by mum shouting and banging my bedroom floor with a broom handle. Looked out of my window and saw the ice and fog. Went back to sleep. Mum came in, tore my bedclothes off and threw them in a heap on the floor. "Wake up, Emlyn" she cried gaily, "time for brekkers , then off to school. It's a lovely brisk day and you have games this afternoon." Why does she always do this? I stagger to the bathroom and take a quick cold wash, shivering in the unheated  room. When will mum switch on the water heater? After I've gone, no doubt. By gadzooks, it's cold today!

I got dressed, went downstairs and packed my rugby kit. Oh God, rugger today. Yippeee! Mum smiling happily gave me my breakfast. Same thing again. Cereal, eggs and bacon and toast and marmalade. It's been the same for years. I feel like cracking up. Just like the eggs! Joke. I thank her. "Super brekkers, mum. I could eat it all over again!" To my horror she gives me a second helping. Oh my goodness, how can I ever thank her.... Possibly by exploding!

Walked out into the freezing day and promptly slipped and fell on the icy garden path. Had I known what this day had in store for me, I would have turned around right there and gone back to bed. Walked, slipped and staggered down to the station, greeting all the other slipping sliding grim faced citizens of the village with a cheery "Good morning. What a lovely morning it is today!" I got little response, apart from a muttered obscenity from a local village hoodlum. It's time something was done about him. Maybe he could be used for medical experiments!?

The heating on the train wasn't working, so the passengers huddled together for warmth. Just my luck. I sat next to a large fat woman with B.O. and halitosis. For some unknown reason, she kept scratching herself. It was contagious. We all scratched. She smiled at me, exposing half a set of green and yellow teeth. Where were the other half, I wondered. And were they meant to be that colour?

Arrived at school, and all my classmates were moaning about the cold. The fact that we had games that afternoon was another hot topic. Everyone was trying to think of a last-minute scive. Some did make it as far as the gate, but were caught by our eagle-eyed PE teacher, Chaz 'Razor' Smith. Others visited the sickroom, but were given caster oil by the charmless nurse. That was her remedy for everyone, with a double dose for scivers. Morning lessons went off quietly, except for the occasional idiot still trying desperately to be sick.

We arrived at the games field at around 1.00pm and got changed for rugby. It was then that the bombshell fell. The first XV had a match against another school, and our scrum half had called in sick that morning. Probably after looking at the weather. The reserve scrum half had been warming up with the rest of the team when he was playfully tackled by one of his team mates. He fell badly on the frozen pitch, and was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm. As I was trying to keep warm with a few of my equally frozen  friends, Chaz 'Razor' Smith came over to me. He smiled. "Gropensteigler, you're playing! Spencer's gone to hospital. Go and warm up with the rest of the team!" My mind went numb. Several times. I closed my eyes and opened them. No good. The scene didn't change. Surely there has to be someone else? No way out this time. I trotted over to the pitch where the first XV were getting ready for the match. I was the smallest person there. They all welcomed me unenthusiastically. I didn't even know any of them very well. As I tried warming up, a dense fog came down over the entire area. So we had an icy field, a dense fog (we couldn't see the opposition, they couldn't see us), and the referee was Chaz "Razor' Smith! At least he would be on our side. He hated to lose. Apparently the original ref had also called in sick with vomiting, sneezing, a bad cough, influenza, gout, piles, broken glasses and a very nasty injury to his private parts!  A very imaginative sciver! He'd seen the weather too!

The match kicked off and the ball disappeared into the mist. Both teams chased at full speed to where they thought the ball was coming down, and there were some violent collisions and exclamations. "AAARRRGGGHHH, YARROO, MY HEAD, MY ARM, ME GOOLIES ," etc etc. The match had to be briefly stopped for injuries to both sides, and 2 players were carried from the field. After only 15 seconds of play!  We appealed unsuccessfully to the mad referee to stop this insanity, but Chaz 'Razor" Smith would have none of it. He wanted to win this match even if there were fatalities on both sides! It would look good on his record. (Just like all PE teachers, I hear you cry!) We all fell over many times, and cuts and bruises appeared on every player this day. I fell onto a piece of broken glass (how did that get there?) and cut my leg open. Ten minutes later I fell again on the same piece of glass (why didn't someone pick it up?) and cut my hand. The mad referee merely said "Don't worry, Gropensteigler, we've all got eight pints of blood, so plenty more where that came from!" This man is definitely deranged.

 We managed by pure luck to score a try, simply by running in the general direction of the opposing teams goal line and not colliding with any of the opposition. The try was not converted as the kicker couldn't see the goalpost! The supposedly impartial referee was jumping up and down with glee. "Well done, lads," he whispered to our team, "I'll make sure they don't get any now!" And he managed to do this for the rest of the game by blowing his whistle for non-existent infringements every time the opponents got near to our goal-line. Several other players were injured during the last few minuites of the match, mainly from fighting. The opposition didn't want to lose either, but they finally realised what was going on when it was all too late. Three more players from each side were taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays after the final whistle. At least I was still alive, although still bleeding profusely from my wounds. I won't forget today. Roll on tomorrow. It can't be worse!


This was EG's first and last match for the school team. When the rugby world heard this incredible story, the reaction was swift. Never again would any game be played under these conditions. And it never was...... Amen.............................................................................................................until the next time?


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