My ole chum James Cracknell has qualified for the Cambridge boat in this weekend’s Boat Race.
Ffs he’s 46…
Everyone else is less than half his age.
Having lived next door to him for a decade I know him, and have been in rightful awe of him for some time. He’s a great bloke ( though socially not always that comfortable by virtue of perhaps being a bit ‘ on the spectrum ‘ as it’s called these days ).
We are all somewhere on the spectrum of course. Im way to the end of the uninhibited side, which after my knock on the head got more marked I believe. James ‘ 2010 brain injury certainly led to changes in him, though I’d say that manifested as exaggerating the traits he already had. He’s definitely more engaging and lighthearted than he was before though, which makes him ‘ better’ socially I’d say. For a guy of 46 to make the team in an event like rowing ( at this incredibly high standard ) is truly belief defying. It’ll never be surpassed, for sure, so win or lose the day will belong to James Cracknell.
With impeccable timing his divorce announcement was leaked ( and I’m very sure not by his hand ) Like me, he has been affected by a catastrophic cycle crash, like me his life was altered, and like me he is getting divorced. Ever so often disabling injuries lead to divorce. That bit about in sickness or health, for better or for worse ought be optional I think, and if uttered should be contractual. If parties don’t think they can stick to it, come a calamitous injury to one of them, they should actually leave it out of the alter vows I think. It’s no good for the one who isn’t injured to say ‘ well he just changed after his arms/legs/head got severed and I didn’t like him so much so I’m off, taking the kids with me. Oh and can everyone feel sorry for me ( and not him, the irreversibly injured one ) ‘ is it? That’s not the promise that was made under the gaze of God, was it? That promise was a ‘ solemn vow’.
I’ve talked to J over the last week, while he’s in training camp. I must emphasise that the thoughts and words above belong to me and not him. He’s focused rightly on today and the task of winning ( because James always backs himself to win – and that’s a big part of his winning formula. He’s always in it to win it )
Head injuries and physical injury that leads to mental torture alter your life for ever in a way that you cannot possibly forcast. You don’t ever think that it’s going to happen to you, and if it does then trust me it messes you up forever. A friend’s highly successful boss has recently been paralysed whilst skiing. He sent a message out saying he’d be ‘back at work, normal business resumed in a few weeks ‘ From experience I’d say that’s unlikely to happen. The repercussions of being doubley Incontinent aren’t exactly helpful at work… as he will find to his horror ( and yes, I don’t exaggerate ). If it’s possible I’d like to meet this chap and talk ( helpfully ) about the realities of paralysis. I wish I could have met my future self back then, and been advised of what might happen next…
Anyway, today I’ll be cheering for Cambridge. I’ve never had an allegiance to one side before, so that’ll be good. I used to go down to the river, but now I won’t be able to see past all the peeps standing up, so I’ll watch James and the rest on my TV. I actually have a new one… ever so HD it is too. I’ll see the droplets of sweat and river in fine detail, I will.
Shame you can’t see into the athletes ‘ heads though… but I think I can into one of them- the one with the greying hair. Gold one last time is my prediction.