If you see a man hobbling around Fargate over the next couple of days looking as if he suffering from mild constipation, there is a good chance it’s me.
That’s because I decided, foolishly, to swap the comfort of the Hillsborough press box last Saturday for Tough Mudder. It was a grave error in judgement on my part!
What is Tough Mudder, I hear you ask. Well, I was one of thousands of people who signed up to take part in the event at Cholmondeley Estate, Cheshire, which consisted of 12 miles of obstacle courses designed by the Special Forces to test your stamina and mental strength.
All this while dressed as a pirate trying to raise funds for the Help for Heroes charity. Eat your heart out Captain Pugwash.
Some of the challenges included crawling through mud tunnels - think that scene at the end of The Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne is trying to escape prison - climbing over 12 foot walls, jumping into a skip of ice-water and running through thick bogs in the woodlands. Sounds fun doesn’t it?!
I know exactly what you are thinking. Why on earth would you put yourself through four and a half hours of pure, unadulterated pain? Even now, I still can’t figure out what possessed me to compete. What I do know is my upper body and legs have not felt the same since that fateful day.
But the experience did get me thinking about the importance of team work. There were times when I questioned my ability to finish. Self-doubt crept into my psyche once or twice but I knew my teammates were there for me. Every time I got into trouble, which was quite often, they helped me and vice versa. I knew I could rely on them to bail me out of whatever precarious predicament I found myself in. They were usually of the muddy persuasion.
As a group, we stuck together, supported each other through the hard times and crossed the finish line together. The same cannot be said right now of the two Sheffield clubs or Barnsley. Too many times over the last month I’ve seen players arguing among themselves after the concession of soft goals. Too many are under-performing. Too many are failing to do their jobs properly.
I managed to conquer my inner demons. Now it is time our clubs demonstrate their mental toughness.