OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am not sure if I was born obsessive or if it rubbed off on me.

I was a young puppy in Newcastle when I first saw him. He was on the local rugby pitch practising. It was dark. He was on his own. He seemed obsessed.

darknessI was fascinated. He was there again the next night. On his own. Practising. Obsessed. Very soon I became obsessed. With him. I ended up watching him practise at every opportunity. I would watch him with awe.

wilkohandsclaspedI would copy and learn. Paws clasped together in homage as I centred my thoughts and envisaged his success. I didn’t always get maximum cooperation at home.

labcatI noticed others copying us too.

tobyfloodBut we were first.

Later, the thought of what he had to do would put me in a deep panic and I would be overcome with a sense of doom about what would happen if it didn’t go well for him.

The World Cup in 2003 was my moment of perfection, the moment when my hero realised all his goals.

Jonny-Wilkinson-kicks-a-d-002Then the injuries – arguably from the strain of years of obsessive practice – set in.

WilkoInjuries_650x916And I shared his pain.

injuredThen my hero suddenly moved to the south of France and I couldn’t watch him anymore. Top-14 matches were only shown on the internet and I lacked opposable thumbs to let me log into Wiziwig.

Dang lack of opposable thumbs!

“Dang lack of opposable thumbs!”

I searched for other heroes. Dan and Nick, Toby and Johnny, Rhys and most recently Owen. I watch them but none of them match up to my hero. I watch their kicking with tears welling in my eyes. I smile politely and respond to the family at home, but inside I am churning up just like I did as a young puppy. It’s overwhelming.

I read his autobiography obsessively. I discovered he’d been a tortured soul. Just like me. I read that he took up Buddhism to help him find inner peace. They say the Four Noble Truths explain the nature of suffering, anxiety and dissatisfaction, its causes and how they can be overcome. So I took up Buddhism too.

Sometimes it works.

I have

“Yum! Think yourself lucky my state of Inner Calm has spared you.”

But most often it doesn’t.


“Buddhism Shmuddism!”

Now I hear my hero might retire. I hear that he’s comfortable with the notion. But the thought of him never playing competitively again is simply unacceptable to me. And what if the press were to write bad things about him? What if his legacy is damaged?

I can’t go on like this. I need help. It’s why I came here today.

My name is Jonny, and I am a rugbyholic.

As told to Coddfish in her counselling rooms

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1,023 Responses to Jonny

  1. The closest I ever got to testifying was the time I saw a band called Testament supporting Megadeath

  2. Plans for the weekend?

  3. Tovarishch says:

    Le rugby est le plus touché par le dopage

    Sorry to butt into your post, Tov, but the software has somehow automatically closed this blog for posting. This is the only way I can announce:

    New blog up:

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