This year I have lined up a special Valentine’s Day treat for Rachel.

We are off for a romantic weekend in Wales.


More specifically, Rachel will be spending a good chunk of February 14 with my sister and nieces while I head off with my brother-in-law to the pubs of Cardiff’s Mill Lane and elsewhere ahead of the Wales v England 6N match at the Millennium Stadium.

I have a ticket for the match.

The problem is the anxiety is already starting to build.

It was bad enough last Sunday waiting to watch the opening Welsh match against Scotland on TV. I needed distraction, so by lunchtime I’d already been shopping, done some washing, ironed a load of shirts and cleaned the bathroom and there was still another 2 hours before kick-off.

Now that I know I’m actually going to the match I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on other stuff.

What if we lose against an unfancied England side?

What if all the promise and progress of the last 12 months evaporates in 80 depressing minutes?

What if we go back to being no-hopers?

More importantly, what if we win?

I can handle being serial losers. I’m struggling with having a rugby team capable of winning consistently and winning well.

I’m afflicted by this damned tricky mix of pessimism and optimism again. I know we should win, but I’m doing a pretty good job of convincing myself that we can’t win.

The fear and loathing will continue to build until 5.30pm on Saturday – kick-off time – at which point I’ll be too busy shouting at 15 men in red to care.

I will make it up to Rachel – for our unromantic weekend, obviously. I can’t do anything about being a Welsh rugby fan

5 responses »

  1. From beyond the grave says:

    It’s a difficult one, Paul: What to wish for? Win, lose? Raise hopes, dash them before they have had time to rear their optimistic heads? You’ve got me.

    At least Rachel will be having fun.


  2. Nick S Donald says:

    Ah… the eternal struggle ‘twixt optimist and pessimist… the romantic versus the cynic.

    I would advise going with the flow and enjoying the sweet surrender of being a nervous plaything of the gods.

    Easier said than done, obviously.

  3. Mikki says:

    It appears that you turn to heavy-duty housework as a distraction. Should you need any further distraction at any point during the 6 Nations, please feel free to come to our house.

    Alternatively, if you could just call Dray and tell him just how diverting housework can be, that would probably do the trick too.

    BTW I made the terrible mistake yesterday of saying to my (Welsh) boss that however rubbish England turned out to be at rugby, Dray is stuck with supporting Canada and look how rubbish they are. Except for that time they beat Wales, obviously.

  4. Paul Groves says:

    U and Nick: I’m opting (and struggling) to go with the flow.

    Mikki: I think I’ll have enough distraction just cleaning our house during 6N season. I’ll be delighted to give Dray a call as you suggest – can you assure me I won’t get a two-word response?

  5. Mikki says:

    No – he will be much more articulate than that.

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