The Next Best Thing

Sitting around a beer stained coffee table, my mates and I tell candid details of our first time, that moment when we stopped being little boys, and became men. MrCharisma proudly boasts that he lost his cherry at the tender age of fifteen, with his first and only love. Next in line is the vastly more experience Matt23, who regales us all with tales of excitement and disappointment. We shake our heads sagely at opportunities missed, and give nods of approval as he recounts moments that we all suspect he?s exaggerating just a little. Once he?s done, it?s my turn, and I shift nervously in my faded armchair. This time I?ve got a story to tell. Last time we talked, I had to shyly confess to having never experienced it. But now, now I?ve got a story to tell. Now I?m finally one of the boys. Uh... men.

I begin by setting the scene, letting each of them get a picture in their head. It was an impossibly sunny Saturday afternoon, and I was down in Newcastle to visit friends. As I had a lunch of McDonalds at Broadmeadow, I saw her. Staring out the window and across the car park, I locked eyes with a beauty unlike any I?d ever seen. For a simple country boy, whose only experience comes from television and magazines, it was one of those defining moments. Forgetting about my Big Mac, I got up and walked towards her, my body in autopilot as if I?d been seduced by the song of the mythical Sirens. Maybe I had, because the next thing I knew I was approaching her nervously. It was a brief seduction, and before too long I was fumbling towards ecstasy, as Sarah McLachlan might put it. I admit to my mates that I didn?t know where I was going or what I was doing, not immediately, anyway. Sure, I made a few wrong turns and got a little bit too adventurous, but then, that?s what every first time should be like. Eventually I found a place where I was comfortable, and it all felt natural.

It?s hard to put into words the waves of dizzying pleasure, or the way it felt when it was all said and done and I was basking in the warm afterglow of success. Maybe it could be done, but I think it would prove difficult without the constraints of a mere 750 words. My love needs to be immortalised in epic prose, or in the melodic harmony of some unforgettable ballad. Suffice it to say, as it should be, my first time was an experience to be remembered. I didn?t seek to dull the moment with alcohol, nor do I let my friends know all of the details as I smugly take a deep swig from my stubbie of New. They plead, of course, but I just give them a knowing smile and turn my attention back to the game on television.

At this point I must ask that my readers pause for a moment, and let their minds drift up from the gutter and move their thoughts to the portion of the brain that handles higher functions. You know? the part that gives you a buzz whenever you hear Ray Warren push himself to the verge of aneurism in attempting to describe a Darren Lockyer break. Why, you may well ask, do I attempt to liken my first league experience to the pleasures of the flesh? Why not just come out and say ?I saw Newcastle beat Wests in Round 26, and it was goooood?. Two reasons, the least important of which is: ?the previous statement is a mere twelve words, and I dare say I?d be marked down for such a short article?, but the second is different. For me, there are few experiences as fulfilling as a good game of live league. Like a grainy Jenna Jamison ?classic? doesn?t do justice to the world of carnal knowledge, so too do Channel Nine?s images on Friday night football fail to impart just how special a game of live league is. I bet most of us could recount our first experience in live league, and each tale would undoubtedly have that tingle of excitement and awe in it. While sex may become a little less appealing as you age, league just keeps getting better and better.

It may not be better than sex, but it?s the next best thing.

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