A mate of mine is known for his competiveness. He should be, I guess, having played for his country, but a story I'm sure he'll love me telling will illustrate the extent.

A few of us used to go to my folks house on Curtis island for new years, it became a bit of a tradition. Lazing around after a few cleansing ales a few of the boys were enjoying my young nephews connect 4 set. Ryan had never played the game. Andy on the other hand, coming from the wrong side of the tracks, had dabbled quite a bit in board games in his youth and quickly dispatched him. Trying to shake the fog from his brain Ryano went again. Bang 2-0. Ryan was clearly getting annoyed, something that Andy, keen to no doubt motivate the rookie player, made public to us all. Game 3. Pride on the line. Aaaaand bang, another routing. Ryan jumped to his feet, the constructive comments of the crowd ringing in his ears, declaring that his short and colourful connect4 career was in fact, over. And that we could all go and shove our heads in that well known valley where the sun shineth not.

I used to be like that. Hated losing at cards. Hating losing at touch footy. Ground my teeth and took the ritual humiliations on the tennis court from the wife like a barely grown, sooky man.

That however, was all in the past. I got fat. The Rev defeated my competitive spirit. I could play backgammon and lose three in a row with barely a sulk.

It was like my grape vine that The Wife would have declared dead ages ago and I had even contemplated pulling out. Not quite dead despite appearances. The first shoot was going back and training with AJ, Nath and "connect 4 Ryan". I didn’t lose weight but started to feel a little fitter. A leaf opened on Wednesday night when I had an ok game. That is I didn't give my celebrated impression of a fat 30 year old. The opposition was of a good standard. Then came the catch up game on Saturday.

The opposition was the best team in the comp. Four internationals and a few NTL reps for good measure. I let a try in where technically I reckon I did everything right. I just got burned. By a fitter, stronger, lighter, more agile player. Another moment I ran into a small hole and had to reach and juggle for the ball because I was half a step too slow. Little things that really had not much bearing on the game, we got thrashed, but they burned me a little.

Sitting there having a beer later (the irony!), I thought about what might of happened if I was that 5-10 Kg lighter that I reckon I should be. The next day, doing a training session with The Wife, I reckon I ran just a little harder every time I thought about letting in that try.

The vine has been fertilized now, who knows what sort of fruit it will bear.

Lantanaland from the iPhone

No Sandra Bullock tie ins please.

I'm back baby