I've come to a conclusion...
I'm too nice.
This weekend, I pulled myself from the starting line up of our rugby match to let another guy have playing time. Now mind you, this guy is big and strong, however, he is not fast nor does he have a large amount of aerobic stamina. I on the other hand am not as strong as him but I have the stamina he lacks to move from scrums to rucks and mauls. Additionally, he has more experience playing than I do as he has been with the team longer and may even have additional experience outside of the club. However, in our match against the team from Suffolk, I replaced him in the starting line up.
This has been an odd season for my position (prop forward). Last season, there were two men who started in those positions. One got injured midseason and was replaced (and quite well I might add) by one of the subs. I started the season way too late to really make much of an impact in a game so I threw myself into off season training to get into better shape for the upcoming season with the hopes of even being a sub on the starting line up. Well I made the starting team squad but knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me. But this is where it gets odd...
One of the starting props said he was taking the spring season off but yet he still came to practices and has, ultimately, played in a few games. We'll call him Bob. The other prop I fully expected to play opposite him in the spring season and I would see time as either a sub or starting on the "B" side. We'll call him Ed. With the exception of this past weekend where I voluntarily pulled myself out of the starting line up saying my knees weren't 100% (and they are not as I am seeing the specialist tomorrow), I have started all three games from the spring season. But, to be honest, I lied a bit this weekend. I could have played. I wanted to play. I was just being respectful of someone's feelings.
This entire season I've wondered where I was going to wind up -- starting or subbing. The first match (muddy Boston), I started opposite Ed since Bob was just going to observe and, as of that point, was still taking the spring season off. The second match (Hudson Valley), I started opposite Bob since it was tax weekend and Ed, an accountant, was off finishing the last of the taxes. The third match (Suffolk Co.), both Bob and Ed showed up. When the captain pulled out the jerseys (or is that spelled jersies?), Ed immediately went and grabbed #3, the number for the tight head prop and put it on. The shock came when he had to take the jersey off because he wasn't starting the game.
I had replaced Ed in the starting line up and he wasn't happy about it. I later learned he started making comments on the sidelines about how he could have slept in for another hour if he wasn't going to start the game along with comments that he expected playing time since he was a long time member of the team and didn't think he should be sitting on the sidelines. These comments were echoed to me on Saturday along with a complaint that no one knew who was in the starting line up and therefore we couldn't plan appropriately for the match (etc etc). I told him that he was "preaching to the choir" and if he had an issue he should take it up with the coach who was standing nearby. As far as I know, he never did.
For some reason, I got concerned that Ed would quit the team because he wasn't starting this match. I had a good idea that I would be starting in his stead but I wasn't going to say anything and I was going to let coach make the determination. But, for some reason, I went to coach and requested not to be put into the starting line up because of my knees when it was really to salvage Ed's pride.
WHY THE FUCK DID I DO THAT? I earned my fucking spot but showing up to practice, working out on a regular basis, listening in drills, improving my play, everything. Why was I so concerned about making sure that Ed felt okay about his position on the team and so forth? What crack was I on? I wanted to play in the game so bad. I wanted to be in there kicking some ass and making my presence known (or at least my evil twin Skippy) and helping our team out where it counted. What really hurt was having one of the locks (the men who are behind me in the scrum) come up to me and tell me that I had to get better soon since, in his opinion, I do a much better job than Ed.
Argh. I'm kicking myself. I really am.