Fun fact, to start with, I have the mental backbone of a noodle soaked in magma.
I can adamantly think over an action for several weeks. Yet, on the day of the event, do a quick heel turn upon one of my friends saying, “what have you got to lose.”
The worst part is that they’re usually right and I have a better time in the new scenario than I would have had in the original.
A situation which, sadly on my part, once again proved correct.
After four weeks of talking myself out of it, I found myself in the middle of a crowd of angry drunk men.
Them, wanting to do nothing more than kicking my face in until I was foaming at the mouth more than the Archbishop of Canterbury at pride.
I had found myself checking into Ashbourne. More specifically, Shrovetide.
The barbaric game and how you win
If you’ve never been to Shrovetide, the rules are relatively straightforward, a little too straightforward some may say.
The aim is simple. You must get a ball from the centre of the court to the opponents’ corner by the end of the match.
What about if: the opponent’s corner is 3 miles from the start, the match can last up to 16 hours, the court is not a court but an entire town and, the worst part; the only rule is “don’t kill anyone.”
Actually, no I said that wrong; the rule is “don’t kill anyone on purpose.”
Not even a drunk Henry VIII would think of a game that bat-shitly British.
Yet, there I was, standing depressed in a waterproof mac, waiting for that ball to be tossed up so I can run in the complete opposite direction.
However, like an intoxicated man making out with a lamp, a spark went off in my head that day.
I know this isn’t the best place to do it, but I feel like I must come out.
Don’t judge me on my choices, but I think I might be a lad.
I can’t be a lad, I’m just Harry
Believe me, I’m shocked too.
I saw that ball be chucked and, for some unknown primal urge-ish reason, charged at it like a bull on methamphetamines.
One hour later, I find myself in the middle of a scrap, mud down my new shoes and loving every second of it.
I would have never thought that hearing the screams of angry drunk blokes, cursing using every swear word which won’t get them charged for violating a human right, could be so much fun.
I am so glad that I didn’t stay behind as I have probably found a new tradition that I will gladly be partaking in, annually.
Just goes to show, you won’t know if you’ll like being shoved by 300 men until you try it.
I know that’s not a widely applicable moral, but it probably will have its uses somewhere (most likely on a shady blacklisted website).
Shrovetide takes place on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Go if you’re willing to get smacked in the face while having a good laugh.