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My Life as a Hooker: When a Middle-Aged Bloke Discovered Rugby [Paperback]

Steven Gauge
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

6 Feb 2012
Steven Gauge’s response to an impending midlife crisis didn’t involve piercings, tattoos or leather trousers – instead, he decided to take up rugby, and made a number of important discoveries. First, that in this ultimate contact sport, class divisions melt away in the presence of rugby's own eternal divide: the Forwards and the Backs. Secondly, though biting is generally frowned upon, it does occasionally take place and can be discouraged by applying Deep Heat to the ears. And fi nally, turning up on time with your kit is far more important than knowing what to do with the ball if it ever reaches you. By the end of his fi rst few seasons, Steven had cracked his nose and various other parts of his anatomy – but he had cracked the game too, and found a place in the club as Captain of the Fourths.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (6 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849532117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849532112
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'On an Iron John odyssey in search of his own Iron Johnny Wilkinson, Steven Gauge reveals the hidden depths of commuterland manhood with charm, wit and intelligence and real insight. Whether you're going through a midlife crisis yourself, or seeking understanding of the delicate male psyche and its need to bond in mud, My Life as a Hooker is the only guide you need.' (Samira Ahmed, journalist and broadcaster)

'Steven Gauge's writing debut is far more accomplished than his hilarious efforts on the pitch. Painfully honest and self-deprecating, this story will appeal to anyone who's ever tried their hand at something they weren't terribly good at but still enjoyed every step of the way. The characters in the clubhouse are the stars of every amateur team up and down the country and will be familiar to anyone who has ever put on a club shirt. You want to join the team as much as turn the page. If this is what a midlife crisis does for you, I want one.' (Luke Benedict, rugby writer for the Daily Mail)

'littered with blokish anecdotes.' (Sports Book of the Month)

'thankfully, Gauge has submitted [sic] his midlife experiences to paper and come up with an entertaining meander through rugby clubs, drinking and, of course, rugby tours.' (The Nottingham Evening Post)

'engaging tale… a breezy, often witty account of one man's desire to do something different and reject the notion that, just because you're getting on a bit, it doesn't mean you're quite ready for a Zimmer frame.' (The Nottingham Evening Post)

'an open account of one man's mid-life crisis and also a second chance at sport... A heart-warming read with just the right amount of educated cynicism.' (St Christopher's Live Your Life e-zine)

'contains lessons that reach beyond the gates of Warlingham Rugby Club car park… Its underlying philosophy [is] of self-help, communal activity, tolerance, respect and beer… Well-written, funny and warm hearted. It opens with a great joke and builds seamlessly from there… Steven builds an entire philosophy of life into his 230 page narrative.' (Liberal Democrat Voice)

'a ruck-load of laughs… one of those rarities in sports publishing: a humorous book which is genuinely funny… [Gauge] is able to recount in full, life in the casual nether reaches of British sport… made me laugh out loud.' (Sports Journalists' Association)

'a sports book that celebrates an unfit 40something novice player in the third worse team in Surrey… autobiographical traipse through a rough and tumble approach to a mid-life crisis.' (Inside Croydon)

' funny yet so true' (Rugby World)

'hilarious take on a season with Warlingham 4ths. Warm and witty' (Rugby World)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If laughter is the best medicine then this book should be available on the NHS. It is a joy: very funny, hugely likeable and tells a cracking good story. In a friendly, witty and engaging style, Steven Gauge takes us on a rollicking journey from his first days on the rugby pitch to his hard-won heyday as Captain of the Fourths. This is the Dad's Army of sports books. I found myself caring about this motley crew and willing them to hang in there and stop losing.

Describing himself as a hobbit, as he is short but determined, Gauge is totally honest about both triumphs and disasters. Gauge is a human cartoon: repeatedly flattened, he never gives up. He involves us by giving advice, too: `Once you are on the ground it is probably better to stay there for a little while...'

Unlike a cartoon, Gauge gets hurt. Yet like a hobbit, he is brave. Confused, but determined to help his team to win, or at least lose better, he decides to read books on sports psychology, after struggling to give a good half-time pep talk: `As I began to ramble, I realised I hadn't the faintest idea why we were losing...'

"If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly," wrote G.K.Chesterton. This book is a timely reminder in a world obsessed with perfection and celebrity of what life-enhancing good times you can have doing something for fun. At the same time, how a hobbit shapes up as a rugby captain makes a great story. Watching him try hard to get better is hilarious and sometimes unexpectedly moving. And if you've ever had to recruit people for a team, the chapter on 'Captain's Poker' will strike you as inspired.

This book makes you want to turn off the tv and run around in the mud. Then again, sitting in a chair and laughing this much is a pretty good workout.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's real rugby for you! 27 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Athough i have never played with Mr Gauge (in any sense), I am like him a Warlingham man through and through. not only has he captured the essence of that great club (home to the illustrious C Robshaw, K Traynor & Kay Wilson amongst others) but also our game in all it's wonderful facets. Well done, and thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Local rugby club but a national story 11 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
A really fun read and highly recommended.
While Gauge focuses on one team in one club, rugby players all over Britain will be able to relate to the characters in the book.
There's a reason that you play for a rugby club and not a rugby team, and this book explains why more eloquently than I ever could.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep calm and play rugby! 27 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Be very careful where you read this book.......it had me laughing out loud at times as I followed the fortunes of Warlingham's Fourth XV.....!
What does a man do when in sight of middle age and with a successful career, things start to get harder? The answer seems to try something different, some more sensible than others......It can be a radical career change, taking up a completely new hobby, becoming an Open University student, or going in for tattoing and wearing leather...
Thus it was with Steven Gauge who at the not so tender age of 35 took up......playing rugby
In the professional game you are hanging up your rugby boots at this age, such are its demands and I have to admit I wince at times when I watch a game and see them go right into each other or ferociously engage in the scrums.....It really is a game for the fit
Things are however quite different it seems in the lower leagues of the amateur game where you have some seriously unfit men playing rugby.......a game for 'all sorts and conditions of men' of all ages, and sizes and getting fitter into the bargain, and making good friends on the way. So you're well into your 50s, 3 stone overweight, and amble from scrum to scrum? Not a problem! somewhere a team will have a place for you
Even at this level though, rugby demands a certain amount of commitment, with two training sessions a week and a Saturday game
On the way Steven has such a lot of fun... and pain. He gets hurt,he has to leave the field on account of injury, someone takes a punch at him, but then again he finds he has made friends for life and revels in the camaraderie that this sport is famous for
It is very funny but with some serious undercurrents.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I played for this guy!!!!! 4 Oct 2012
By Ant2403
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Or at least I played for and with many people like him! If I didn't know better this book could have been written about some of the clubs I have trotted out for. Full of the stories, failures and ups and downs of rugby at grass roots level. "Gaugey" is the sort of bloke who used to ring me on a Tuesday begging me to turn out for a home game and then again on a Thursday to tell me I was playing for a different team that was playing 60 miles from home, having promised my wife i would be home by six to go out for dinner. The stoney silence from my wife was sorted when he phoned at 0945 on Saturday to say i was back in the 4ths! If you have played in the lower levels of the game then you will see where many of these stories are going...still no less funny. Made me think about buying a new pair of boots.....well done
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Close to Real Life 23 April 2012
Format:Paperback
Highly entertaining and surprisingly accurate to my experiences. I also started playing Rugby again in my late 30s after stopping playing in my early 20s as I wanted my kids to learn the game and associated values rather than just football. I also went into the front row but as a prop. Almost all stories provided could very easier have come from my own small club in rural Warwickshire but we only have 2 teams rather than 4. Even the nick names for some of the players were the same. Last Saturday a very respectable in real life ex 2nd team captain had his last ever game now he's in his mid 50s. He also ended up in his pants (to "play" a game of Sumo outside in the rain) shortly before being picked up by his family to be taken out for a posh meal.

I would strongly recommend this easy read to anyone interested in the humour of grass root rugby beyond the professional teams.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Why rugby is better than football....
Exactly what lower team rugby is like at every club in the country. A must read for every 'grass roots' senior player!
Published 5 days ago by Michael P Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
I enjoyed this book. It is easy to read. The story rolls along and is punctuated with some really funny lines
Published 2 months ago by John Collier
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book
I did something similar a few years ago and this account rings true and brought back some great memories. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Liam John Bellamy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very amusing...
A really enjoyable light hearted read. To me it also had a feel good factor about it which made me want to carry on reading. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Nick Rudkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Every ruby player should read this.
Although my title is aimed at rugby players and ex rugby players (like myself) it would still be enjoyable to non rugby players, especially soccer players as they would be... Read more
Published 7 months ago by David Gray
2.0 out of 5 stars Cliche riddled disappointment
As a Rugby League fan I often find that I am bought things because they are about 'Rugby' as was the case with this book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by CJP0349
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable!
Loved this book from start to finish, a great read and very close to home for me! Every club has a Steven gauge
Published 11 months ago by Rockfist
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone for a middle aged Booker?
Fantastic book from start to finish. No 'far out' stories which make for a bad sporting autobiography. Very funny and easy to read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Martin Pollard
5.0 out of 5 stars Good insight to grassroots rugby
As an ex captain of a 4th team myself I could really relate to a lot if these tales. All men should be forced to read this and get down to your local rugby club, and find out what... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Barry Yates
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
Proper grass roots rugby tale, well played Steve....... Gives hope to anyone considering joining our brilliant sport, its what rugby is all about!
Published 14 months ago by David Sheridan
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