Bob’s rugby shirt often worn underneath his smock.
They often say that we’re all born bare and we’re all born innocent.
Only as we grow we choose what to wear, and we choose how we think and act.
Well, as I’m rapidly approaching 70, I still have the thirst for sport, but even though I keep as fit as possible, I spend more and more time watching now from the comfort of my armchair.
Growing up I was football daft, as in working class Dundee it was the number 1 sport. I wanted and dreamt of nothing more than to play on the wing for Scotland. My schoolboy hero was Celtic and Scotland’s Jimmy Johnstone, “wee Jinky,” even though I didn’t support Celtic, Dundee FC was and still is my team. I’d try my hardest to weave in and out like him. I’d try my hardest to lift the ball over the opponent’s foot like he did. I loved my lowly level of football, and when I joined the military, I was introduced to rugby. That was it, smitten…rugby’s the game for me!
After joining the SAS in the mid 1970s, I played both football and rugby for the Regiment. I played my first game of rugby for the SAS in 1975 as a student about to go on selection. It was a weekend, and they were short of a winger, I’d only gone to watch the game. I played with a borrowed pair of boots one size too small…my heels and toes were killing me after the game. Not too clever with selection not far away…well I was just 20 and still had lots to learn. I played my last game for the Regiment in 1994 almost 20 years later.
They often say also that we never grow up. Well, that may be true, and therefore gives me a great excuse as to why I used to do what I did. Dare to dream…my boyhood dream was to play for Scotland…even in the SAS I’d dream of playing rugby for my country. I told a Scotland player a few years ago, that I’d throw away my 23 year career in the military for just 5 minutes playing in a Scotland shirt.
Well, as it turns out my sprinting, football and rugby was all purely lower level amateur…but boy did I enjoy every event and every game.
However, in order to fulfil my dream and play for my country (now here’s the bit where I’ve never grown up), I’d often wear my Scotland rugby shirt under my uniform on operations.
I wore it under my black overalls on the Iranian Embassy Siege in London in May, 1980. I wore it under the above pictured smock (often with other layers) during the Falkland’s War in 1982. And I wore it during the freezing temperatures of the first Gulf War in 1991 where several layers were a definite in order to just survive.
Yes, in my old mind today, having fought several conflicts against a foreign enemy…while wearing the shirt…I played for Scotland.
One thought on “PLAYING FOR SCOTLAND”
Hi Bob . I remember playing football with you on both the same and opposite sides , during the time we spent in 2 squadron RR RAF Kia Tak and RAF Colerne . Always the better player, always the better soldier . I spent 32 years as teacher, after my time in 2 sqd I would have liked to have spent some of those years in the SAS , it was not to be . I am also fast approaching 70 still thinking I’m much younger. I retired and moved to live in France with my better half . Keep up with your posts Bob 👍 Eddie