Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Favourite Player

My favourite rugby player of the past ten years will be running out at Kingsholm for the last time on Saturday. Jake Boer will captain the Gloucester side against Newcastle and I find it hard to believe that the rugged South African will never again grace the famed Castle Grim turf. For me, Boer epitomises all that is marvellous about the city club. For years and years, his dedication to the cause, his unfashionable team-before-self ethic, his courageous eagerness to put his body on the line, his will to win, his will not to lose, his modesty, his skill, his tangible intelligence, all of these qualities and hundreds of others have won this supporter over and thousands more besides me. Jake Boer is my favourite player of recent times and, heck I’ll admit it, is a finer six than even the mighty John Gadd. I know I’ll be biting the old lower lip at 4.28 on Saturday when the matchless hero leads the lads out for the last time. Like all the greats, I imagined Jake Boer would go on for ever and it is difficult to imagine the city club without him. Thank you, Jake.

London to Brighton proved a shocking hour and a half but I sat quietly compelled throughout. The feature portrayed a seedy underbelly of British life and, to its credit, the array of runaways, prostitutes, paedophiles, gangsters, dropouts, and lowlifes was utterly convincing. Few – if any - of the characters emerged with any credit; even the ‘tart with a heart’ lead, street worker Kelly, was beyond redemption; her close relationship with underage runaway Joanne commenced after she had befriended her merely with a view to procuring her, for her own financial gain, for a paedophile client. It was all a bit grim yet incredibly thrilling as gang members hunted down Kelly and Joanne. In a way, it reminded me of Dead Man’s Shoes, another British thriller examining a stratum of British society that most of us would prefer to pretend didn’t exist. People actually experience these kinds of lives and that is some wake-up call.

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