Michael's Story Part 2!

27th April 2012

I’m back for another crack at this blog writing gig, and I promise that this particular tome will be more upbeat than the last one. But before I get to that, I would like to thank everyone for their support after that blog went live. I was genuinely unsure what the reaction to it would be, but it’s been nothing short of amazing. Thank you so much. So, my first full season as a registered Bolton Bulls player has come to a close. What was it like? Will I be running out of fingers to put championship rings on? Well, grab and a brew and a biscuit and let’s take this ride together... My first league appearance for the mighty Bulls was against West of Scotland at the Bullpen at the very start of October. I was brought on towards the end and, to use a footballing parlance, was put in a “goal-hanger” position (or as football fans of a certain age will know it, “A Gary Lineker”).  According to Chairman Steve I was lucky to escape this game with my life as I apparently came very close to being clobbered by an opposing defender. I was blissfully unaware of this as I was in the process of shooting/clenching my buttocks and hoping for the best. Good job really, if I’d been aware it would have probably been the first and only recorded instance of anyone receiving a technical for soiling themselves on court. Our first win came in our third game, a home match against the Celtic Warriors. I didn’t make it off the bench for that one but it was memorable because it was an exciting game that was incredibly close, and in the end we won by only 2 points. Oh, and Darren did this We followed that up with an even closer win against Liverpool Greenbank, beating them on their own court by only one point. (Sadly, I wasn’t at this game, but it gets a worthy mention as it was the only time we recorded back-to-back victories.) Sadly, then came our biggest drubbing (a 54 point deficit by close of play) of the season, at the bullpen, against the utterly unstoppable Vikings. I came on in the fourth quarter, but as an inexperienced player it was incredibly hard for me to get into that game and is a performance that I’d rather forget. It was definitely one of those “I’m way out of my depth” moments. Fortunately, the Bulls have many wise and experienced heads and they offered me the re-assurance I needed that by the following training session I was chomping at the bit all over again.  Then came my first road game, at Derby Wheelblazers. Sadly another loss for us, but this was a big game for me as I recorded my most minutes of the season. It was an excellent learning experience, mainly because I was thrown in at the deep end and told to play point-guard; a position that involves a whole lot of ball handling (stop sniggering). I did ok, and it was good to get some solid game time under my belt. Sadly, our home game that would’ve fallen on my 30th birthday in February got re-arranged and in March I began to learn that even an inexperienced player such as myself can grow frustrated with bench-sitting. Then came the revelation that the mighty Bolton Bulls might not make it to the end of the season and that we desperately needed funds. To this end, I decided to finally put down the words that by now, you’ve probably all read (linky is back up at the top if you’ve not).  Going to the training session after that blog was posted was daunting to say the least. As I’ve already mentioned I had no clue how people would react, and my mind works in such a way that I expected it to be negative.  It wasn’t.  Unburdening my soul made me utterly fearless. I feel as though I’ve improved as much in the last 2 months of the season than I did in the entire year and a bit before that. That said, fearlessness has it’s downsides: Head-injuries, a bad shoulder and two fat-lips. In less than two months. Badges of honour. The last two games of the season were my favourite; not least because I appeared in them both.  First up was Liverpool Greenbank who became the only team we did the double over, in what was probably our best team performance of the season. We ran out winners by 55-30, the guys did an awesome job of amassing an unassailable lead by half-time, and keeping performance levels high to close out a much needed and convincing win. I came on in the 4th, and I personally feel that was probably my best performance of the season. I could of (and probably should of) scored at least 2, maybe 3 baskets. Last game of the season was a road trip to the Vikings. A team, that as of writing, have only lost one game this season. Sadly, we didn’t add anything to their loss column and they ran out comfortable winners. But we put up a reasonable performance (in my opinion, especially compared to the last time we played them); and the Vikings became the only team I put in appearance against both home & away. I was much happier with my performance this time out, and closed out the season with my first foul. Which, I probably shouldn’t be quite so proud of, but hey, small victories. :) So, that was the season, from my point of view at least. Almost starting to feel like a basketball player these days! (Especially by the seasons end when the aches and pains started to catch up with me.)  Off the court, April 10th just passed and that marked 12 months of me being straight edge. (Wikipedia link for those that have been asking about it); I’ve enjoyed the quiz night from our sponsors G-Casino in Bolton, and cake over-load from our supporters at Cherry’s Coffee. It is, to quote the Simpson’s “all coming up Milhouse” Before I sign off, I’d like to thank you all for your support this season, both on and off the court. (Special mentions for my boy @razcrockett and my dad who's help I could have not managed without) and don’t forget the Just Giving Page; to quote Vinnie Jones: “It’s been emotional” Michael #8

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