I got into the habit over Christmas and the New Year of watching some of the old films that are routinely pulled out of the archives at this time of year. You know the sort I mean - The Great Escape, Heroes of Telemark, The Magnificent Seven, The Guns of Navarone - all great movies and there aren't many better made in recent history excepting Braveheart and, of course, Gladiator.
I was sorry not to catch Zulu which is right up there as well but I did watch Dances with Wolves for the first time - it's gone straight into my all time favourite list - the sort of film you can watch time and time again without it losing its appeal. So I turned into more of a couch potato than is good for me.
Happily no such accusation can fairly be levelled at the mens 2's who prepared for the testing visit to Maidenhead with a very rigorous week of training and fixtures. Oxford Uni 2's (a very decent outfit) were beaten 2-0 on Monday evening, there was a hard training session on Tuesday and then the mighty Hawks 1's provided the sternest possible opposition on Thursday evening. Fair to say the 2's played out of their skins and although coming off second best surprised a few with a resilient display - even Mr Williams, as Jake deferentially refers to him, seemed impressed.(I actually had no idea who Jake was talking about when he described the hirsute Australian thus. However I think it does Jake , great credit that he is so respectful).
Which brings me to Saturday and Dances with Wolves.
There are some players in most squads you know you can always, absolutely rely on. Primus inter pares (for Brookes students I should explain that is Latin for first among equals) is Phil "Fearless " Hargraves. Phil is well over 50 now - so 3 x the age of some of our youngsters and he is the model Hawks member. I know I said last season that title was held by Connor Payne but I've changed my mind.
Meet him socially and he is the mildest of men - the type of bloke you'd want as your Godfather (admittedly another good film but not quite in the top 10) - for example he'd never dream of washing an errant spider down the bath plughole. It simply wouldn't occur to him. Instead he'd go to ridiculous lengths to rescue it from drowning and prolong its valueless life. In Dancing with Wolves he would undoubtedly be a Sioux.
However once he puts on his goalkeeping gear he turns into a ferocious animal - in Dancing with Wolves a Pawnee Indian i.e. apparently concerned only with maiming, killing and scalping. Perhaps we could do with one or two more Pawnees in the 2's
To be fair with a rather depleted squad of players on Saturday the 2's actually did OK and came away with a draw which could have been a win - or, if I'm being totally objective, it could equally have been a loss. Both sides had chances but Fearless kept us in the game even though he was felled midway through the first half by the hardest shot directly into his chest from 3 yards that you're ever likely to see. Being in Pawnee mode he just got up and carried on.
In a very competitive game some of our youngsters showed further evidence of significant improvement and resilience. Jake Taylor (or to give him his Sioux name - Runs like a Hare) - is becoming increasingly influential and put in another impressive shift. Laurie Cooke (Bends in the Wind) is turning into a reliable defender and it's good to have Ollie Dunn(I couldn't think of a Sioux name for him) back in harness after 3 months out with a back problem.
As ever Simon Robinson ( Sits on the Throne) was immense at the back.
If you've not seen Dances with Wolves you should.
With thanks to Kevin Costner.