Tuesday 24 October 2017

You'd want to be nuts to follow this programme

One of the best things about being involved with the county team is the banter in the dressing room. Obviously the ultimate goal for every team is to be successful, but not every team can be.

However, show me a fella who says that there's no crack in his dressing room and I'll show you a liar, or a dry shite. Every self-respecting lad knows the best laugh comes at someone else's expense; it's an unwritten rule. Whether it be when someone falls over themselves or when an oul' grumpy bollox of a farmer, who no one likes, starts to cut his silage and a torrential downpour of rain comes. Great crack!

When you have 30 lads between the ages of 18 and 30-something in a dressing room, the law of averages says there'll be six or seven who are, for want of a better expression, as thick as pig shite, making them perfect targets for the odd prank. These poor unfortunates are usually the lads everyone will be laughing at after training.

There's the harmless stuff, like tying their shoelaces together or hiding their gear bag. Filling a fella's boots with shaving foam always gets a few laughs. Then we get a bit more extreme with things like taking their car keys while they shower, moving their car a mile down the road and not telling them until after they've rang the guards; or colouring in their brand-new white boots with black marker.

Moving up the scale of harshness, I remember the day one of the dim lads came in bragging about how he'd a fine bit of stuff lined up to bring for a meal after training. "She's cute as a pet fox lads!" This particular night he came in from training feeling a bit stiff and went into the physio for a rub; a decision he regrets to this day. His bag was raided, and a bottle of Calvin Klein aftershave was discovered and emptied into the sink. You've heard of Chanel No 5 for women? Well, that day Calvin Klein number one for men was invented at the urinals outside our changing room. The slightly warm bottle was placed back in his bag and 29 men somehow held in their laughter as he doused himself in the stuff. There was no second date. Calvin Klein number two is due out next year.

Deep Heat is a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. Just ask the lad who left his boxers unattended and ended up sitting in a cold bath for two hours. Then there was the fella who left his glasses down while he went to the bathroom. They got two sprays on each lens. He wears contacts now. We won't go into the time half a tube of Deep Heat cream found its way into the mayonnaise jar on our salad table. That got messy.

I'm not a boastful person, but I think a prank I played last year on a gosson who'd just arrived into the panel ranks up there with the best.

We had decided as a team to put everything in that year and, for me, a big thing was my diet. Everyone's daily food intake was analysed and we all met one-to-one with a nutritionist. I remember my turn, an experience I won't forget.

"Were you truthful filling out this intake sheet?"

"Yea sure, why wouldn't I be horse?"

He shook his head in disbelief.

"Last Tuesday you took in five thousand calories."

"Ah yea we were doing a bit of fencing for Bridie Walsh, she's some woman to make tea and buns."

"What about Friday? For lunch you had five ham sandwiches with white bread, a packet of Monster Munch and a Wibbly Wobbly Wonder. Then you didn't eat until 1.0 in the morning!"

"We were ploughing all day above in Tiernan's, and actually it was four ham sandwiches, one fell out of the tractor."

"Look, you can't play at this level without a half decent diet. You need to be eating smaller meals more often. Every two hours in an ideal world."

"Ah jaysus, I can't stop to eat every two hours, sure we'll get nothing done!"

"You need to try, I'm going to give you a list of things to get and some meal plans. You'll notice the difference believe me!"

I stormed out, muttering the word "gobshite" just loud enough for him to hear. A few of us went through the ingredient list.

"What in the name of God are flax seeds?"

"How the hell am I going to make an omelette?"

"He can stick his oatcakes up his arse!"

The next night we were given a bag made up with some of the ingredients to get us started. To be fair, this chap was going out of his way to help, so as a team we agreed to give it a try. The bags were handed out, I looked through mine. This stuff was all new to me. I pulled out a jar of these flax seeds I'd heard so much about. They looked very familiar, but how?

I smiled as the little light bulb in my head came on. I looked to my left, one of the young lads who'd just joined the panel had left his food bag unattended and in plain view. Amateur mistake. I ran out to my car, his jar of flax seed in my pocket.

Two minutes later, I returned to the dressing room, no sign of the gosson, brilliant. I slipped the jar back into his bag and went for some food.

The next night I walked into the dressing room and sat down beside my victim from the previous night. He was white as a Charolais cow, with bags under his eyes and he was sucking away on a bottle of water.

"Jesus kid, you look as sick as a plane to Lourdes."

"I don't know what's wrong with me man. Been up all night, can't keep anything down. Think it's that new diet we got?"

I smirked trying not to laugh. "You'd wanna tell the nutritionist lad, no point eating that crap if it's going to do that to you!"

"Oh God! It's not finished yet!"

He sprang up off the seat and made a dart for the toilets; his hand over his mouth. Training went well that night and I'd a spring in my step walking to the car. One of the lads opened the boot and cursed loudly.

"Ah jaysus, clean out this boot. There's feckin' calf nuts everywhere!"

I laughed. "What are you on about, the nutritionist swears by that stuff."

The Fielder is not a fictional character. He currently plays for his county and club. For more, follow him on Twitter @TheFielder2

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