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Thread: When I met John...

  1. #1
    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    Post When I met John...

    It is no secret that for most girls, when they’re growing up, their Dad is their hero. For me, Old Man Cringle (Steve) was mine. Not only was he a top notch father figure who taught me all about love and life, he introduced me to the wonderful world of rugby and made me the rugby mad young woman I am today. So from the age of 2 days old I was watching rugby with my old man (in my mum’s hospital room), when I left the hospital I would be taken to watch him play and when I was 11 and they had the first test match at Subi oval, I was there with my Dad. I never thought there was a life other than that of a rugby player’s daughter and although he never put rugby before his family… it was pretty important. I’ll never forget standing on the sidelines when I was a little girl waving and calling out to him and getting so frustrated and upset when he would ignore me and keep his eyes on the ball. Talk about having your priorities right.

    So rugby has always been something my dad has been in love with and having played 333 games for Uni, and met many, many top blokes over the years, the one person he played with who’s name always popped up in conversation around the dinner table was that of Mr John ‘Wobber’ Welborn.
    Having been in the first grade Uni team for a while together it is highly likely I met him when I was a lot younger but I never remembered it. When Dad was in first grade I was only a young girl and when he was training on Tuesdays and Thursday nights, my Mum, Brother and I would either sit in the car or in the club house waiting for him to finish. The team felt so sorry for us and so impressed Dad was such a family man that this lead him to receive the Uni ‘Best and Fairest’. He likes to think it had something to do with his talent and on field presence but we know the truth. This is still something Dad is so proud of, winning this award, which was good in itself, let alone winning it when a bloke in the team went on to play for the Wallabies and Super 12 and 14 rugby.

    But seeing as I had no memory of John and Dad together, when Dad claimed he had played alongside a Wallaby and ‘taught him everything he knows’ I thought my dad had perfected the art of telling huge porkies. I used to roll my eyes and laugh at him, humouring him with several.. ‘yeah?’, ‘uh hu’, ‘ whatever dad’s’. And every time he would insist if we ever bumped into him if he came back from France he would recognize my Dad. This was met with more eye rolling on my behalf as I felt this was a pretty empty promise seeing as it was probably never going to happen as he was all the way over in Europe.

    Dad’s big chance to show me he had been telling the truth all along came late 2004 when the ‘Friends of Uni Rugby’ held a benefit lunch at the new UWA function centre which is ironically built on the old Riley Oval, Uni’s old home ground. The event was to have many special guests and speakers but one name on the invitation caught my eye. ‘Special guest speaker John Welborn’

    Mum wasn’t keen on going but I jumped at the chance to go to a rugby do (didn’t hurt I knew the colts team was going to be there. ) and to once and for all prove that my Dad may have played with Wobber, but there was no way he was going to remember him and recognize who he was. Oh how wrong I was.

    The event itself was lovely. I bought a new dress for the occasion and got all dolled up and unfortunately given my height and the fact I look a little older than I am led many of dad’s old team mates to think I was his new floozy. That was until dad would introduce me as his daughter and they would suddenly link me to the little blonde headed crazy kid who would run around with a nappy on when I was a toddler and I would be subject to the 100th ‘oh my you’ve grown up so much, hardly recognized you, I remember when you were this tall *hand motion*’ etc. I just smiled and nodded a lot.
    I was too shy to talk to the colts so while Dad was having a few drinks I just caught up with all the old fella’s I knew from his team from back in the day.
    The actual speeches and presentations were fantastic, and John spoke beautifully about his time in France and his experiences as a Wallaby for those 6 caps and how excited he was about the upcoming season with the Force.

    When all was said and done there was time for mingling. John had mentioned he had to leave shortly after his speech so Dad and I made a beeline for him and waited patiently for him to finish talking to someone else so we could once and for all prove who was right and who was going to look mighty foolish.

    The second John turned around, looked at my dad and I saw the recognition in his eyes I knew I was the foolish one. ‘Steve! How’s it going?’etc.
    ‘Yeah good mate. This is my daughter Jessica’
    *I shook his hand and I must have been blushing like crazy*
    ‘She didn’t believe you and I knew each other mate’
    ‘You taught me all I know didn’t you Steve?’

    We chatted away for a few minutes and when he had to excuse himself to go make his other appointment Dad was grinning away and I admitted defeat. Graciously though despite being wrong, I had gotten to meet Mr. Welborn, the former Wallaby, Waratah and future Force player. I was wrapped.

    Dad and I went to the meet the players, members day early last year and bumped into him again. He still knew who my dad was and even better was this time he knew who I was! Dad asked if he could sign my jersey for me and when I turned around so he could sign the back like Henjak and Mckay had already done, he responded with a ‘Awww… I have to sign the back? I don’t get to sign the front?’
    To which I think my Dad laughed and joke ‘Hey mate that’s my daughter you’re talking about’ or something like that.

    All in all the both times I have met John he has been nothing but friendly and an all round lovely bloke. He had a long and wonderful rugby career and I really do hope he stays involved with the WA rugby community.

    I’m going to interview my dad shortly to get as many Wobber stories as he can remember.

    Hope at least one person has read this whole story and I hope you enjoyed it.

    More John stories where that one came from...

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    I made Happy sad...

  2. #2
    Veteran Contributor LarryNJ's Avatar
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    I read it all Jessc! Great job, good story.

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  3. #3
    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    Thanks Larry. Took me a while to write, going to take a while to read. Hope that doesn't put too many people off slogging it out through the whole thing.

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    I made Happy sad...

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    Excellent effort, they are the best stories, ie father and daughter/son. I could read stories like this all day, keep `em coming...

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    Champion Contributor chook's Avatar
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    Great read Jessc!! Thats fantastic, keep 'em coming!! Lets see what the old fella can remember when you interview him.
    cheers
    chook

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    Great write up Jess
    I remember Wobber as a thumpin big Year 12 to my pimply, though not so small, Year 8 back at Scotch.
    He was a mate of my brother so I used to bump into him a bit.
    Used to watch the 1stXV running around on the weekend, there were some pretty decent players amongst them however Wobber was the one that pursued his dream.

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Great effort, Jess

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    Senior Player Contributor Evie's Avatar
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    Aww thats a lovely story Jess!

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    Champion Contributor tragic's Avatar
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    Excellent, Jess! Thank you

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    Champion Shaun's Avatar
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    "top notch" Jess

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    Every forwards dream is to become a back...

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    Champion Lonzy's Avatar
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    good work ...

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    "Believe in the best, think your best, study your best, have a goal for your best, never be satisfied with less than your best, try your best, and in the long run things will turn out for the best."

  12. #12
    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. You're all so nice.

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    I made Happy sad...

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessc
    Thanks Larry. Took me a while to write, going to take a while to read. Hope that doesn't put too many people off slogging it out through the whole thing.
    only took 5 mins. a good read.

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  14. #14
    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    Loved it Jess, good read.

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  15. #15
    Senior Player antiussentiment's Avatar
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    i loved that story along with others. but no one seems to have offered any "mayo".. so i've fixed that.

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    cheers auss...
    fabricarti diem punc

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