The green pitch was expansive. It extended as far as the horizon. The ivory goal posts stretched higher than my eyes could see. Their painted tops disappearing into the starry night above. Along the edges of the field, light posts illuminated the rugby players under blue-white fluorescent light, their movements made more crisp somehow by the sharp contrast of colorful jerseys against the twinkling nighttime sky. The lush grass looked so very soft. As the massive men slammed into one another, they fell into the field as though it were a feather bed.
And there I slept on my feather bed, dreaming about rugby.
I believed any remaining doubt in regards to not playing rugby this season was erased. I was at ease with my difficult decision. The Bingham Cup was a suitable bookend to two years of unexpected fun. I like bookends. The brief period spent on the pitch had been quality time and now I was ready to rest.
Who knew my rest would be interrupted with a rugby dream so convincing and so alive that I awoke this morning yearning for the brutal sport once more? Who knew a scant midnight vision could evoke those missed memories, that pesky feeling of friends lost. Who knew a dream could channel the raw thrill of this sport into my sleeping mind for me to savor and reflect upon the entire morning?
And who knew Dolly Parton could play rugby?
Dolly Parton was my dream guide as we watched games and then played rugby together. She was so cute too, decked out in a pink and white track suit. Her hair was huge. Platinum blond and done up like a giant swirl of cotton candy. I didn’t notice her trademark “assets”. I think she left them at home in respect of visiting a gay man’s dream about him missing rugby and beefy men.
But there we were at this enormous field, just talking about rugby and the many laws governing it. She glanced at the field, at the game in progress and suggested, in her darling Tennessee mountain twang, “You wanna play rugby with me? Let’s go!”
And before I could protest, Dolly and I were kitted up, myself in my muddy shorts and jersey and she’s jump-the-shark adorable in a lavender and cream rugby jersey and pink short shorts. She wore teensy, pink rugby cleats with sterling silver spikes. She took a long moment to pose as I admired her darling outfit.
Work Dolly Parton. Work!
Dream guides often represent your “true self” or how you want friends and family in the waking world to see you. They can take any form. Perhaps a cat, slinky and mysterious, leading an awkward woman to a secret chamber to find her lover there, so very sensual. Or perhaps a widower, furious but controlled, will see distant tornadoes inviting him to unleash his anger, his fury.
Well here was Dolly Parton in pink beckoning my gay ass to play rugby again. Sigh.
At first I was all timid and trying to do most of the work to keep Dolly from getting tackled or having to run around. She's like eighty years old, and seriously, she is the size of a Bratz doll, including the giant noggin’ and lack of nose.
But Dolly Parton was a monster in her knee socks! She was out of control!
She’d tackle someone then get up, tackle someone else, get up, push through five hulking men and then tackle someone else before punting the ball and chasing it to pass back to me!
We were both running around the pitch (it was our team of two against a standard team of fifteen) doing amazing feats of physical fitness. I did question the reality of it at all at one point, but she scolded me for not paying attention to the game. Then she passed me the ball and I slammed through an opponent and scored!
Dolly ran to me and hugged me. We jumped up and down and the score board began to buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz… fucking alarm clocks.
Note: And yes you homos, no need to mention her special guest appearance as Charlene's Guardian Movie Star on "Designing Women". It was such a strange, real dream. I'm still mulling over all the imagery of playing rugby with Dolly Parton. Needless to say, I'm ordering pink knee socks this morning.