Nottingham Rugby Club is in financial trouble. They need to raise £150,000 to avoid going bust. Now, I'm a rugby fan - albeit one that supports the Northampton Saints - and I would absolutely hate to see one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country go under. Besides, they are my local club, playing their home games just around the corner from us at Meadow Lane. The guy who runs the deli round the corner helps to sponsor the club, and he told me the other day that Nottingham's league rivals, the Cornish Pirates, had donated £500 to help keep the club afloat. A nice gesture, I thought, and wondered what I could do to help.
Apparently the club have asked local businesses to help, and so this afternoon, the club held a pavilion at my office. I only remembered they were there just before they left, but I popped out to see what they had on offer anyway. I wasn't really in the market for a replica shirt or a club fleece, and it seemed that the only other option was a calendar.
...and so it came to pass, that I found myself buying a calendar filled with rugby players from a club that I don't support in various states of undress*. Well, I reasoned, it would make a good Christmas present for my friend Tracey and it would help to keep the club from going under. There were some players there too, and after I had bought the calendar, I was sent in their direction for them to sign.
....and thus it came to pass that I spent a few long minutes in the canteen of my office at lunchtime with a calendar filled with pictures of half-naked men as the self-same men, now slightly bored looking it has to be said, casually signed their names across the pictures of their own buttocks.
"It's for a friend...." I helplessly said, knowing even as I said it that it was pointless. No explanation was going to be good enough to explain this. I thanked my lucky stars that the people in my office tend to lunch early.
I hope they don't go bust, but my God, that was the hardest £7.99 I have ever spent. I think I'm going to go and watch them playing before the end of December. It's another way of sending a little cash in their direction, and it's a whole lot less embarrassing.
* I'd post a picture, but.... y'know.