It’s the life I lead, and you’ve got to be tough-skinned to live it. You’ve got to be big, but lean, curved at the right places. Yeah, you’ve got to be a rugger ball. You’ve got to be me.
I was born into a broken family, grew up in a broken home, in a broken neighbourhood, with a broken air pump. They had to hold down the pin with their bare hands to get me breathing, but I toughened up and I can take it from a balloon if I have to. But I don’t know if I want to anymore.
There comes a time when you begin to wonder. When you’re left alone for so long, forgotten in some corner of a dusty room, you start to think. And I have had thoughts. Profound thoughts! On the nature of life itself, on the nature of nature! Thoughts of how every rugger ball has led their life, what they’ve aspired to be. To be tossed around at the Six Nations, Tri Nations, and the WRC. But does it mean anything at all? What is the purpose we serve?
Rugby is a game played by men with odd-shaped balls, I once heard.
Am I odd-shaped? Am I… queer?
Suddenly I feel insecure, when I look at other balls, I shrivel.
How can this be happening? I thought I was tough! I thought nothing could break me down. But I’ve been shattered, I could cry.
But rugger balls don’t show their emotions, we keep them locked up inside. Sealed in tight, we don’t let a breath of air out, and not a sigh. That is just how we are. And that is how we’ll always be. Until the day we deflate.