The end of season means many things, it also means the end of season drinking session for all the players in the squad. Depending on the players, this is attacked with different levels of preparation and seriousness. In his younger days, The Viking was involved in elaborate fancy dress, never end pub crawls and the occasional visit to the hospital.
The antics of these events rarely become public knowledge, with the very notable exception of Danny Cipriani being hit by a bus whilst dressed as GoldDust recently. I have heard tales of players accidentally being knocked out and when water was thrown on them in order to help (how does that help?) the glass escaping too and knocking them out for a second time, of policemen being forced to approach a group of drunken, dressed up players and ask where Zorro and Captain America are while attempting to be taken seriously, of boats being sunk off the Cornish coast and of player punishments (once a player tried to leave a team social early to meet his girlfriend…he was tied up naked and put in the middle of the pitch).
The Viking takes the end of season piss up pretty seriously. There have been times when I have been forced to fuel the fire (once I had to drive our truck very slowly into the club so that he could stand on the flatbed playing his blowup guitar with Kiss music blasting out to an awaiting crowd of players) and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
One of the last sessions ever organised by The Viking was at his first professional club, he had painstakingly selected teams and assigned them fancy dress, he had laboured over the evenings events for weeks, he had spent days (a week) creating his own outfit (he believes buying it is cheating) and had incessantly jabbered on about how it was going to be his greatest event to date. I dutifully dropped him off at the prearranged meeting place and shipped the kids off to my mum’s so that they wouldn’t have to be faced with their dribbling father the next morning.
“The carnage begins!”, were the cries I heard as I drove off, the lads all in high spirits, the sun shining and the outfits impressive.
So imagine my surprise, when at barely 10pm The Viking arrives home, outfit gone and head bleeding (not unusual).
Turns out the carnage ends pretty early too….
On a serious note though, after a tough season of pain, blood, broken bones, wins and losses, of abstaining from drinking, meticulous eating, of fighting and bonding, this is the blow out. This is what gets the season out of their hair before the relaxing (hopefully sun soaked) off season begins. It’s a little bit like the commute after work, by the time it’s finished, all the stress of the day has gone and you can enjoy your family.
So whilst seeing one of these events with my own eyes is my idea of hell, and dealing with him the next day isn’t far off, they have a purpose, an important one and I’m gutted for The Viking that he has to miss his this year so that we can move, I’m gutted for me too.