The Last Dance: Junior B

I can handle not seeing family. I can handle not seeing friends. I relish ‘working’ from home and not being in the office. The one thing I won’t forgive this blasted virus for, however, is robbing the Junior B City League of witnessing my real comeback. After years of putting drink and fast food first, this was the year I was going to focus solely on getting back to my best. Hey, what are you laughing at? Seriously, this was the year that all the Sloppy Foleys, 5-tender meals from Hillbilly’s and shredded chicken from Soba was going to be swapped out for boiled chicken and rice, salmon, vegetables and eggs. I was going to go full-blown keto for the first part of the season to get my strength up and then start loading the carbs on again when championship came around. Who is feckin’ laughing?? My days were going to blend into one another in a monotone menu.

  • 7:00 am: 4 weetabix with half a cup of milk.
  • 7:45 am: Get the car in gear and head to the gym, still trying to swallow the flaky weetabix paste.
  • 9:30 am: Begrudgingly go into work, thinking about being up at the pitch, taking frees.
  • 11:30 am: Quick break from pretending to look busy – get yoghurt from the canteen, get protein powder and scoop two helpings into the miniscule tub. Ideally won’t know where the powder begins and the yoghurt ends.
  • 1:30 pm: Lunch time! Boiled mini chicken fillets on their own again. Class.
  • 5:00 pm: Home, boil that salmon kid! Throw a few grains of rice in there for diversity.
  • 7:00 pm: Go training, absolutely bursting every lad with a shoulder who gets too close in the warmup.
  • 8:30 pm: Home, cup of tea (decaffeinated teabags, obvs), put on Laochra Gael recordings and read Eddie Keher’s biography again. Tomorrow night is Christy Ring.
  • 10:00 pm: Bedtime. Prayer to St. Anthony to find lost speed, fitness, desire and talent.

After two months of this with varying trainings and weight plans, I was going to take the league and championship by storm. In thirty years time some ragtag group of filmmakers from Film Production in GMIT were going to find me in my cabin in the wilds of Wicklow. I’d come out to the knocking on the door (the first time someone had been out to visit me since the famous/infamous final of 2020) and invite the strangers in for a cup of tea. They would ask me questions about that Junior B City Championship final where Rathpeacon, led by yours truly, absolutely demolished a Whitechurch/Whitescross/Lough Rovers/Douglas amalgamation in a one horse race. I was likened to Michael Jordan on his return to the NBA in his first full season back in 1995, or Eric Cantona on his return to the Premier League in 1995. Whatever modest comparison you prefer. They would try to get me to tell them why, after just one stellar season and a record-setting points tally in the final, did I leave Cork. Why did I leave civilisation to live in the wilds of Wicklow in a cabin?
“That is for season 2,” I would tell them as I open the door and show them out.

Alas, this future is destroyed, like a chalk outline of hopscotch dissolved in the rain. Covid-19 has prevented the world from seeing the great things I was destined to do. Damn you, you stupid bat!

*This post may have been inspired by the absolutely unbelievable documentary series on Michael Jordan. The last two episodes of The Last Dance are out next Monday.

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