David Flatman: You can have an operation between spa treatments

View from the front row with Bath & England prop

Poor old Wayne Rooney. He had to wait until the next morning to find out if his foot was as bad as all the papers predicted. The waiting must have been as agonising as the injury itself. Not me, though. The diva in me broke out and I demanded a scan on the spot. As it turned out, it was already arranged nearby and they were waiting for me. Tantrum abated, I threw on my fur coat, grabbed my clutch bag and wafted up the road to the hospital.

Being the self-centred sportsman I am (Sir Steve Redgrave once said all top athletes need to be selfish, and if he said it...) I could remember nothing about the whole experience but my results. As soon as I heard the magic words “it might not be ruptured,” I was in the car calling my mum. However, in the interests of thoroughness, I was this week sent back for a follow-up scan. Joy. Only this time, I arrived early enough to soak in the surroundings, and wow. This, I thought, must be what it is like to be a footballer.



We have all been to medical institutions and, with the odd exception, they are all pretty similar; unnaturally sterile with squeaky floors and nonsensical signposting. Well, it appears the game has moved on. This place, frankly, was the best hotel I have ever visited. It just so happened that, if you fancied it, you could pop downstairs for a quick knee operation between spa treatments. “A new take on how a hospital should work,” was how one learned-looking gentleman described it. “When can I move in?” was the only question I had left. I ate freshly-made sandwiches and drank espresso (an ill-considered choice before having to lie perfectly still in a small tube for an hour) in the lobby while reading car magazines. The days of leafing through a Bella magazine from August 2008 over a plastic cup of tepid fluid called coffee - but containing nothing of the sort - are over.



All of this was very pleasant but, of course, served only as temporary relief from the torture of being injured. With Bath still desperate to reach the play-offs, every game appears to engulf the team so wholly that to be on the outside is a rather other-worldly experience; one is in the room but one remains absent. This feeling is exacerbated further by the prospect of running out at Twickenham in front of some 50,000 supporters to face the Wasps next weekend. I am sure it will be a great day but if I am not playing you will not find me anywhere near the place.



To play for the club you love on such a stage is, for the Bath boys at least, approaching sporting nirvana. The organisers of these rugby showpieces must see pound signs rolling at the very prospect but, once out on the field, it becomes far more than a mere transaction. One might wonder how on earth a league game can generate such attendances considering the average numbers present at grounds around the country. I think that, simply, the event that is a rugby match at Twickenham combined with cheap tickets make it a brilliant day out. Now all we have to do is supply the rugby.



So motivation during the masochistic sessions reserved especially for the lame and lazy at Bath is not an issue. The image of walking out to that much noise in one's favourite shirt of all is one that burns bright. Visualisation, in those dark times, becomes one's most useful weapon. I will miss that hospital, though. Come to think of it, they were so nice up there, I don't suspect they would mind if I popped in for the odd bit of lunch.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy