Thursday, 25 June 2009

Chad woodall event - my take. Part 1
TravellingI guess it's a sign of impending age / doom - as I now officially approach geezerdom I get to moan and gripe about travelling. When you're younger leg room, sleep and food don't seem to matter quite so much. But, as us near geezers say 'when you're my age...' it all aches. So it 'ached' that my last sleep before arriving at Rex's place was Wednesday around 7pm. A 2am bus from central Gloucester taking some 4 hours or so to arrive at London Gatwick airport 'ached' too. Q class (cattle or also known as economy) ached too. I did enjoy a real good chin wag or chat with a US passenger who'd been on contract in Iraq. I also enjoyed eating as much of the near plastic airline food as they'd let me have but then got maybe 20 mins zees on that portion of flight and the two films (Clint's 'Grand Turino' was esp good).

Arriving for my second visit in the US I knew I'd have 'fun' with the so, so slow progress through visa and passport control but the edge of the snails pace entry was taken off by seeing big man Rex on the other side. The boy eats his greens and was an apparent 290+ when I got to shake the big old paw. Having made time to change up some sterling into dollars we then made our way to pick up the transport. BOOM! A big ass HUMMER. Oh yeah now we're rocking in style. Complete with the arm resting on the sill and the seat cranked back we cruised in style to Roswell where family Hubbard make their home.

Now I, like the rest of the guys arriving later and who Rex had kindly found some space for, were all of the mind that we'd be buddying up, making use of sofa space and the like. You know that you're, for all intents and purposes, invading some poor families home and trying hard not to eat them right out of it. I've ALWAYS enjoyed the catering, bed space and so on wherever I travelled but my previous experiences and expectations did not prepare me, nor those to come, for the sheer size, scale and just out and out good old fashioned Southern hospitality we got from Sissy (Rex's mom), Donny (step dad) and the rest of the clan. My jaw had to bolted in place to stop it dropping on stepping down and out of the Hummer but I still couldn't help the silly ass grin that grew on my face. It was real lifestyles of the rich and famous.

I was made to feel welcome the moment I arrived and more so later when Sissy and Donny had overheard me giving Rex my 'someone needs to up their game and get the US association a few more baby steps forward' (a speech given freely over the weekend to a few others also). They were very appreciative of my efforts at, as the 'youth' say of 'bigging Rex up'. My comments to Rex and co were of the 'Rex has gone from the guy prepared to argue with one and all (as a great debater (or master debater... say it quickly ha ha) to one now showing some of the leadership skills that could move the Yank game forward. That we all share the passion is by the by, we need a Barnum and Bailey kind of person to give it some of the old US style razzmatazz that's needed for media attention. For whatever reason, probably how well I was being looked after, relaxing in the jacuzzi or the very nice wine Donny was providing (Merlot??) I seemed to get a second wind and so rather than an early to bed approach I stayed up until around 1130 or so local time. Tomorrow was looking good.

Up a little late for me I found some oatmeal and was munching on down before Sissy pointed to the huge cast iron pot she had going on the stove of more of the same... oops... err pile it on. Some juice (or three) and back out on the loungers by the pool before easing out some of the aches, pains I usually have along with the kinks from the journey in the house gym (yes a gym in their basement too!). Once done it was dossing in the pool and chatting some more with Rex. As we did with some of the fellow Iron Brethren still to arrive we cast our net far and wide from media to personalities within the game. Indeed by late Sunday taking off back home my throat had been fried from all the talking, drinking and shouting to the point of soreness. Mercy for others ha ha.Being kept fed through the day with some of Sissy's sandwiches and Rex's protein drink I spent some more time back later in the gym working on the old back pains again before making sure I was about when Zach Coulter and Andrew Durniat arrived. They both had the same 'oh my gosh look at this' look on their faces and as I shook hands etc. I leant in and said 'it doesn't get better than this guys!!'. They'd driven some 650 miles (with Zach another 2 more hours after that) to get here with us which is about the same as Lands End to John O'Groats or the length of Great Britain. Us Iorn Freaks sure do love to travel don't we.

Sissy had prepared some Beef Tender Loin which she'd marinaded in some home recipe. I'm telling you know it was among the best beef I've ever had and the sweet potato, aspargus, green beans and sauce we had with it along with a locally brewed cold one just about topped the day off. Unlike those guys (Paul Knight and the gang) feeling a tad fragile following their night on the beers and (??) Crown Royal (whiskey??) on Friday Sissys fine food had us very well prepared for our efforts Saturday.

Indeed I was up with no help at all. My bathroom suite (yeah you heard ha ha) helped me be fresh for the day as did yet another readily prepared bowl of oatmeal. A shake just before we left, some vitamins I'd brought with me and my first coffee since the preceding Monday (I wanted the buzz to help me lift to be full on) and we were ready to go. It was back into the tank / Hummer and after a quick stop at the local gas station for some energy type drinks (Sissy having provided me with my usual banana, raisins and the like - again a great hostess) and we were off (as an aside I was wearing my Union Jack shirt for shits n giggles and overheard some guy in the gas station say 'he must be crazy with that on ha ha). Other than having to back up around when we passed our exit we had no problems finding the venue.

Game time

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