The Prop Forwards Guide to Surviving the School Cross Country – Part 2

December 3, 2010 at 11:50 am (Uncategorized)

So Luap is making his way across the rugby pitch to the start line of the dreaded “Cross Country”. The lads are hollering and carrying on with all the excitement that “Yrrah” was going to at last going to join them on the complete waste of time for everyone except the “Giselle” of the pack.

Luap looked around and noticed a few other “Heavy Treaders” that he kind of fancied his chances against. If nothing else, perhaps he wouldn’t be the last person who would cross the line. There was still the other fans of TV’s and chips

and also the sick weedy boys who had forgotten about the sick note from matron… He felt just a little more self-secure.

Then it happened!! There was a shout out from one of the boys who certainly had a bit of a sense of humour!

“Hey guys, the Camera man’s here…!”

Luap looked up and saw the infamous “Camera man” who was catching “Happy memories” of the boys final year of school. This bloke had popped up in the worst kind of places, School Disco’s, Athletics day, Student Voting Day, Rugby games where Luaps team were beaten – and beaten badly and now he was roaming over the muddy pitch, TV camera in hand, trying desperately not to get his cheap, pleather (plastic and leather compound) loafers too dirty…

Luaps heart sank. “Oh great!” he thought. “Not only will I have to endure this days humiliation but I will then have to purchase a video of it to remind me of how terrible it was…!”

All of a sudden a group of guys, lead by the “surfer dude” and 3rd team fullback standout, “Growler” Jonrock. “Hey Yrrah, this is what we are going to do – as this is your first Cross Country in 4 years, we are going to hold back the rest of the group and we want you to sprint out in front and be the first guy to the corner flag. It would be great to ge that on video and a great laugh!”

“Ya bru, go for it” said “Play boy” Wessels, it will be really funny to see you out front! Go for it!”

With much jeering and “go on Yrrah”, Luap reluctantly accepted the challenge – much to the huge celebrations of all and sundry who evidently wanted to see the pride of the front row leading 700 boys into the first turn of the race”.

“Playboy” Wessels marched up to the camera man and announced “Okay Sir, now listen here! Our buddy Yrrah, that big guy in the blue track suit top and the ill-fitting PT pants, he has never run the Cross Country before and quite frankly, he is a bit of a joker! We have arranged for him to be the first oke out of the blocks and hopefully (God willing and if he makes it) leads us into the first turn. So best you make sure you do some sharp sharp work with that camera of yours and capture the big guy is action – understood?”

The lisping , loafer wearing camera man was a bit taken back by “Playboys” directness but nodded in agreement – more through being on the back-foot than actually thinking it was a good idea. After all, he was a professional and felt everyone should take the video making as seriously as him. None of this “let the fatties run out front malarkey!

So it was set. A sea of blue and white gathered along the start line. Numerous people pushing, jostling and others making bets on who would win (there were some people who took the Cross Country seriously, you see)

Luap was positioned at the front. Front and centre. Flanked by the Playboy, Growler and a few other telling everyone else to keep back at the start as “Yrrah needs to lead the pack for at least the first 50 yards!”

Luap, put his foot to the line just as he had seen prize fighters of yesteryear do at the movies. He leaned forward and prepared himself mentally for the painful challenge that lay ahead. He tried to compose himself, desperately trying to look like he knew what he was doing which, to all present, he clearly knew nothing of the sort.

“Shuddup yous bliksems!!!” came the bellow from the starter, a teacher by the name of Van Rensburg who was affectionately known as “The Viper” as he constantly stuck his tongue out when he was talking. Rumour had it that he had also run for SA at the olympics many moons ago and could be recalled from time to time reminiscing about his days of rugby where apparently their coach was always saying “Get the ball to Van Rensburg! Cus he is so blerrie fast!”

“Shuddup yous bliksems….!” came the roar roar again which only slightly dampened the excitment of 700 plus likely lads. 

The were under starters orders. Playboy and Growler were pushing back the younger, more eager boys and making threats of severe violence toward anyone who ran past Luap in the first 50 yards. Luaps heart was beating like drum. The adrenaline was flowing and his breathing was deep.

He knew, if nothing else, he HAD to  be first into that corner. He looked up and the camera man was aiming straight at him. Trying to hide his nerves and impending embarrassment, he gave a cocky wink to the camera…

“Stay behind the line you blerrie bliksems!” came the starters less than politically correct instructions! 

“On your marks”

“Get set….!”

“Viper” raises his hand with the cap gun cocked – pointing it towards a particularly white anemic looking English boy who he severely hated. Closed one eye….


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“BANG!!” The cap gun exploded and the race was on!!

Luap felt that huge explosion of adrenaline. The big fella felt the tightness of his muscles as the surge of power seered though his body. He took off like only a 120kg prop forward could do. Not dissimilar from a rhino charging an american motor vehicle in the Kruger park. 

Luap was off and running. Leading the pack. This was his moment. Somewhere in the distance you could hear Chariots of Fire being played. 

The first 10 meters, Luap was in the lead, 20 meters still leading. Just past the 25 meter mark, Luap noticed a skinny boy enter into his peripheral vision – someone was trying to take his place – HIS LIMELIGHT before the first corner. A split second passed and this skinny boy was removed from vision! Growler Jonstone who now had seemed to appoint himself as Yrrah’s personal body-guard eliminated the “contender for the lead” with a beautiful school-boy ankle-tap. Timeously perfected by years of tripping up other school boys in the hallowed halls education that was this fine institution. 

Luap was back in the lead. Chariots of fire was ringing in his ears, the wind was whistling through his hair, his body shuddering with every adrenaline induced thud.

The corner flag was getting closer and closer and Luap could feel the vulturous pursuits of the “more speed than comfort boys” who were ravenous in their challenge to rip the lead from the martyr of all things “full-fat”.

Luap not going to give up his leadership position without a fight though. Luap had always been a scrapper at heart …. (Well, I say “always” – more like since a friend of the family told him that he “had better be a good fighter as he was not good looking enough to be a lover!) and this Rottweiler was not going to let the whippets past easily. He felt a sense of pride that he was leading his school in something that he was a laughing-stock at. There was no way in Hell he was going “Quietly in the night” – at least not before that corner flag!

20 meters to go and everything was going in slow motion, every step Luap was taking was getting him closer to his victory. His Everest. The flag post was getting closer and closer. 

All of a sudden Luap caught a glimpse of another whippet trying to pass him before the flag, his mind begged the question, “Where is Growler …??” “Where is Playboy?” Where are my protecters..?? He looked back and noticed both of his minders having scraps with other boys who had challenged the lead when Luaps back was turned. They had “picked them out and picked them off” without his knowing – like truly great enforcers. 

Without the “awesome two-some” Luap was left to his own devices. No longer could he just concentrate on getting to the corner flag first. He would have to defend his lead all by himself ! He glanced to the left and saw a wirey, long striding boy gaining on the inside. This was it!! This was the challenge to Luap’s title that he was so desperately dreading. This wirely, spotty boy (who didn’t even PLAY rugby) was trying to take his moment of glory from him….

There were no protectors now (both were now being reprimanded by “Viper” for not taking cross country seriously) and it was going to be left to Luap to defend his honour and his lead that he had worked so “blerrie hard” for (well, not really but you know what I mean!)

Luap decided to take matters into his own hands. This boy was gaining on him and fiendishly coming up the inside. This was the do or die moment for Luap. The boy closed in and was about to pip Luap on the inside of the post. At that exact moment, Luap changed direction like a side-stepping centre and bounced the long gamey boy out of the way leading to the whippet being knocked down and rolled down the side of the hill. This resulted in much cheering, jeering and flag waving from the audience and boys alike…

Luap had done it, he had lead the entire senior school on the first 50 meters of their cross country. He felt like a champion. He felt like a winner. He felt like a legend…. Then he realised, the race race had only just begun….!!

To be continued….

Coming Up, ” Prop Forwards Guide to Surviving the School Cross Country – Part 3 : When the Going gets Tough, the Tough hide in the bushes”


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