O GOD I really am in quite a lot of pain. We played a bruising, muddy, bloody semi-final today against the University of British Columbia, one of the two teams that had managed to beat us in this season's league stages.
And while it never feels too delightful to have your back look like a crossword that's been filled in with a blood-red biro, it certainly feels all the better right now, knowing that we won the game and can look forward to a league final in a few weeks time. Having a bucketful of liquor in me at this stage also helps with the pain.
In a way, today's result was almost predicable in its sweetness. It's a happy Hoge you find writing to you this evening/morning folks. Don't get me wrong; I derive about as much fun from my current landscaping career as I would from an unanesthetised castration with a rusty scissors but life for me at the moment is undoubtedly good.
For the first time in a few years I'm starting for a rugby team, and while I've managed to hold on to my knack for throwing lineouts with the accuracy of a blind baboon, I'm actually playing well for the most part.
After a fortnight of heavy snowfall, the ski slopes can now be seen snaking their way down the mountains surrounding Vancouver. I've also spent a good share of my wages on a snow board and other gear so it shouldn't be too long before I'm making a complete tit of myself by travelling exclusively on my arse down a few of said slopes. I can't wait.
I have another reason for being happy too but it would be remiss of me to say anything more at this point than I have encountered a member of the fairer sex who can stand more than a few consecutive minutes of my company and who has had me smiling more often than not lately.
Happy people make for boring writers, I reckon, so you'll have to excuse me if this posting comes across as a little dull. Hopefully I'll have something to be bitter about again soon.
Right. Reason number one that I have been missing from the blogosphere these last few weeks has been that I have joined a renegade band of Shannonsiders that are currently seizing control of a rugby club here in Vancouver.
Between us we have managed to take the club from rank of bottom feeders last year to table-toppers this year.
No less than five of our team's panel of players hail from Limerick and on one occasion all five have started on the same side for the club. Last week we won our last game of the league stages - which encompasses clubs in Vancouver and the surrounding areas - which means we finished in first place. Because we finished first we get a bye this week and the semi finals take place next weekend.
Normally I refrain from using actual names here for fear of retribution, litigation and humiliation but on this occasion I don't think there's any shaming in naming.
So for the record, the famous five who have instilled a bit of Limerick grit into Vancouver rugby are Darren Harris, Ronan Pigott, John-Mark Griffin, Barry Laffan (a fellow Bruffian) and yours Truly.
ALL-NIGHT candlelit vigils took place. When they weren't enough, pilgrimages to Lourdes were organised. When that had no effect, the diehard fans threatened to stage a dirty protest on the gable end of the Omniplex all in the hope that it would stir The Hoge Spot back into action. But it wasn't until Moesy Joe sent me an email begging for my return that I decided enough was enough and the people had to get what they wanted.
"It has taken me quite a while to complete this email as I regularly must pause to wipe the keyboard free of the flowing mix of anguished snot and tears dripping from my visage as a result of your absence Hoge," wrote Joe in his impassioned email earlier this week.
"As well you know life has not been easy in Limerick for fans of fart jokes or ill-informed observation since your departure. However while your physical absence was testing for your fans, life was made somewhat tolerable thanks to your regular updates on your adventures in Canada via The Hoge Spot.
"But for over a month now there has been nothing. No posts. No updates. Nothing. How am I supposed to live vicariously through you if I don't know what the bloody hell you are doing?"
For much of the rest of the email it seemed like Moesy had merely resorted to bashing the keyboard in anger and frustration until the end when he promised that he would extract a pound of my own flesh using only a rusty spoon if things didn't change fast.
It's beyond two in the morning here so I don't even have the energy to fill you in on the reasons for my extended hiatus but all will be revealed in the coming days. Now for the love of Thor Moesy, put down the spoon.