An extract from Beaver’s Journal, former club member of DHSFP rugby, during his time in Dundee:
I arrived at Dundee a broken hallow shell of a man, at least that’s what I thought until I met Ken McKay (1 down 34 to go). When I was applying for a second masters, I informed an esteemed economics professor at the LSE (where I was doing my first one) who was of Scottish origin that I was probably going to Dundee for 6 months. He was quick to highlight his views on the sunniest city in Scotland; ‘it’s the pimple on the arsehole of Scotland’ (is what he actually said word for word). My expectations high, Dundee and the HSFPs could do nothing but impress, or so I thought …
I emailed the club 2 weeks before the start of the pre-season explaining that I couldn’t play anymore due to concussions (don’t worry most can’t tell the difference between the pre and post-concussion Beaver), but would be happy to do anything even fill water bottles or pick up cones (“I’m really good at both of those things!” said me while trying not to oversell my skill set). I just wanted to get stuck in. I was invited to the first training session and met Ranks and the lads.
Keg (who incidentally played for the same club as me in New Zealand) grabbed my number and got me out for a pint after Thursday training, ensuring that Saturday would be a good night out. Was it ever …
I’ve learned that they best way to gain credibility with a new club is to pull a fit bird on the first night out with the boys (a strategy that went terribly awry with another team in the Waikato province of New Zealand, where few women at the pub were under the age of 50 and fewer had enough teeth to consume solid food). So I found a bonny lass with flowing red locks and we had the most romantic evening ever, made possible by the outdoor smoking area at Liquid. We necked for a bit and then my bladder betrayed me. “Never forget me, while I go to the bathroom (I implored her).” But upon returning from a slash, I found her being chatted up by some other guy, not even one of our lads. What was this man doing, chatting up my future bride? I was in love and sort of remembered her name. Biff offered to help scare off the guy, but despite a herculean effort, this chap wouldn’t budge. Seeing him neck my wife was devastating to say the least (the pre-nup will have to be rock solid). Then her friends grabbed her and took her away to coat check. And she was gone out of my life forever, or so I thought. Luckily we had exchanged numbers and luckilier she was from Ayr and luckiliest she texted me on Monday. For full details and videos visit www.beavertails.com… (an actual pastry from my fair land)
Ranks asked me if we could pick individual players and work with them on specific skills for 30 minutes before each training. The first candidate was Andy Dymock, former Scotland 7s international and a much better scrumhalf than I ever was. What do you work with such an outstanding athlete and rugby player on? His chat, it was Gargy after all. So I stood opposite him and said, what’s your best line? To which he responded; “Beaver, your fat and have too much facial hair for me.” “No Gargy, pretend I’m a fit bird!” “Right … Your wings are pretty and colorful.” “You’re absolutely useless. We’re going to work on box kicks because your chat is hopeless!”
I’ve been trying my best to figure out a way to roast the Dog (and that’s not an offensive comment regarding back alley food). I just remember not believing that that only one person could take up so much space and still get around the pitch. I’m happy I never had to play against him and so is Andre the Giant (well that was the worst roast ever Beaver (even Gerry Tosh could have done better)).
Does anyone remember that time Chicken ran in a try from 80m out and the entirety of the ground stopped and watched a pure moment of beauty? I do, because I heard the ref’s watch end the first team game while he and I were turned around watching from the other pitch as Flem set up the last kick of the game (he missed, but can be forgiven because Chicken).
Callum Kerr Running in a Try
My club in Toronto has a Sterling Uni lad that played with Flem. He had a few mates in town and we figured out that we all new Fleming. They told me to tell Flem that he is shite at scoring tries. Might be why Sterling is terrible at rugby. Upon Fleming’s graduation, a player was overheard saying “thank god he’s graduating, I hated when he scored all those tries.” I told them about my last ever game with Dundee. We were playing Glasgow Hawks (it was the time Rory Pitman picked and drove 2 players over all by himself to score a try from 5 metres out) and it was Halloween, my birthday, and my last road trip with the club. Somehow Flem’s tee was put in the 2nds bag and the bus went with them. So I had the pleasure of borrowing a car and driving all over Scotland to find the other pitch to get the tee back 10 minutes before kickoff. Jamie Urquhart kicked that day.
What am I doing now? At least one person reading this might ask … Rugby wise, I’m entering my 4th year as the head coach of the Balmy Beach Senior Women’s Team and an assistant coach in the U18 women’s Ontario program (we got 2nd place at the Canadian National Championships and some of those girls have a legitimate shot at making the Canadian 7s team for the Olympics either this one or the next (no thanks to me)). Life wise, I’ve been working with early stage water technology companies to grow their business and traveling, mostly across North America, talking and frequent pubs (the masters in Dundee was on Water Governance and Conflict Resolution, so doing what I wanted to). Also, trying to make it back to Dundee as often as possible (so far once, but working on it again, hopefully end of summer early fall).
Beaver after mentoring/advising an up and coming coach
I grew up in a similar club, one that truly stays with you, one that is your home and your family. There are bigger clubs out there in larger cities who may have a few more national tops framed on their clubhouse walls but there aren’t many that could claim to produce better men.