2 years ago I was in the queue for "refreshments" in the stands of the Solider field stadium in Chicago. There was lots of jokes and dry wit about our chances of beating New Zealand that day. Ireland had never beaten New Zealand. Twenty-eight different Irish teams over a 111-year stretch attempted to down the All Blacks without success.
A funny thing happened in that queue. I heard a shout from behind " CRAAAIIIIGGGG" I turned around to be greeted by one of our FFS members and then another shout and then another. In a mad coincidence, there were 6 FFS members in the same queue all with different sets of friends and families with them. I saw another 10 in the stands.
Ireland went on to win that game in what was arguably their best ever victory. It was the most exciting surreal rugby experience I've ever had! An NFL stadium, with NFL announcers and all the light and sound pageantry that goes with it. That night I got to meet tons of friends and family of lots of our members and we all had great craic. They all were asking about the gym and what was involved and were genuinely interested in what we do.
The reason for the reflection is just how much we have grown in a positive way from that weekend and in meeting these new people some of them have subsequently joined FFS gyms. A lot of them have mentioned it to me over the last week and that is what got me reminiscing.
It is pretty much 2 years to the day from that famous victory and one of the lasting legacies for me is that we've had some unbelievable new people join the gym since then and I was very grateful thinking back on it.
To make things even grander the fact that one of our coaches Rhys Ruddock takes the field as the Ireland captain on that very same pitch this Saturday makes it all the much sweeter. We also have Ian Mc Kinley who has been know to attend one or two metcons at FFS Gyms when he is town lining up for Italy. It would be amazing to have both players on the pitch at the same time. The FFS family continues to grow because we have great people behind us and we have great people always joining our family. Here's to another 2 years of great memories meeting great new people.
The match kicks off at Chicago’s Soldier Field at 8pm Irish time on Saturday, November 3. Best of luck to Rhys, the Ireland team and Ian (not too much though)