Saturday 4th September will see Leeds face in Hull in the seasons final regular super league round, whilst Iíll be toasting another year closer to the grave. On my 21st birthday Iíll be where I never wanted to be in my life. Most of you know my situation, so Iím sure youíll understand.
The error of my ways can be traced back to late 2008 when I got my second job (previously was a paper boy for one week) in life as a campsite dismantler in Italy. Taking this job meant that Iíd miss the best part of the super league season that is the play offs. Iím not ashamed to admit I spent one evening glued to the telephone listening to how Leeds and Wigan were getting on in that epic super league semi final of 2008. I was missing something in my life back then because I couldnít even enjoy the beach party that my fellow colleagues put together. Not enjoying life that night I decided to quit Italy and head back home for the super league grand final.
It probably was the biggest mistake of my life. Once the final was on I wasnít even enjoying the rugby on the TV and I didnít let out much of cheer when the Rhinos beat St Helens 16 - 24. In 2008 I reluctantly accepted a 2009 season ticket from my parents for Christmas. But in 2010 I just didnít bother with a rugby league ticket whatsoever because Iíve completely fallen out of love with the game. It wasnít just my love for the game that was suffering either.
However in 2010 something pretty much unexpected happened in the shape of this column. I was offered it a week before the season and I though why not? Looking back not many people were pleased with Paul handing me this gig and I couldnít blame them. In early 2010 my posting on the forum was deteriorating and the more observant members of the community realised I wasnít the damo that first came onto the forum, all the way back in July 2007.
Fair play to myself and Paul Iíd like to think that weíve proven some members of the Southstander community wrong. The Damo bit hasnít been perfect throughout the season, but its been consistent and had many highlights. Some of the early highlights include the columns that I did about LS6 and John Holmes. The latter in particular got fantastic praise from the legends' nephew himself, Phil Holmes.
More recently Iíd like to think that my column has improved drastically thanks to falling in love with rugby league all over again. Looking back I sacrificed my love of rugby league in blind hope that something better would turn up in life. Instead it only seemed to got worse the less and less I bothered with the game. Perhaps Iím too hard on my self, but I still see myself never in employment again. Thankfully my rugby league will always be there for me!
I hope to do this column 'til the final week of the tri-nations. After that I hope that Paul will publish my short story based around my boxing day experience in 1998. Iíd like to say a big thanks to Peter Smith of the YEP for supplying me with the results of that boxing day fixture so I can add a bit of realism to the story. In the off season I shall be lobbying the powers that be of RLFANS to provide more opportunities for grassroots columnist as I know a number of whoíd be interested in doing their own column like ĎThe Damo Bití.
Last of all Iíd like to thank Paul for giving me this opportunity and publishing my column every week (bar that week Iíd rather forget about). Iíd also like to thank number two for publishing my column when Paul is away. A few other people who donít come on southstander and have helped me in more ways than they could of imagined. You know who you are.
However most of all Iíd like to thank the readers because without you I wouldnít have a mean to write a column each and every week.
Iíd like to leave you with a quote of which I feel is pretty typical of my life at the moment -
"Those who are denied the means to do good will do bad!."
Jean-Pierre Ady Fenyo
The Original New York City Free Advice Man
to Ted Turner, Washington, D.C., 1994.
Till next time!