Ok. I have a ton of catching up to do on here with the ongoings of the past month. I’m waiting on photos to do a post of the last game of the regular season, so in the mean time I’ll skip to something I did just after that.
A couple months ago I was talking with my man, Jean-Louis. He’s one of the parents of the U17 boys team in St. Oren’s. He’s EASILY one of the biggest characters in the club, not to mention a real standup guy. He had been asking me how much I’ve seen of Toulouse and if I’ve been to this place or that place. I informed him that I’d seen my fair share of Toulouse and have been around to plenty of pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants. Regardless of what I’d seen or not seen, he insisted on taking me out to lunch to a restaurant owned by one of the current Stade Toulousain rugby players, William Servat. He told me how he was a former cop in Toulouse (only retired 2 months ago) and how he knew a lot of bar and restaurant owners, Servat being one of them.
Sure enough, we went to the restaurant on a Monday afternoon, had a couple beers before ordering our lunch (as you would on a Monday afternoon in the south of France), and then ordered a HUGE steak lunch. At this point, William Servat showed up at the restaurant, and, true to his word, Jean-Louis was indeed friends with him. I was able to get a quick photo with him as we joked around a bit in both English and French.
After the photo, Jean-Louis commented how normally when he sees me on the basketball court, although short, I am one of the stronger guys on the court…and how standing next to Servat, I looked “tiny” so to speak. I couldn’t disagree with that. The guy is an animal.
So Jean-Louis and I finished our lunch. With a bottle of red wine obviously. Then came an awesome tray of desserts. I don’t mean like a tray where you choose a dessert. I mean like a small tray of assorted desserts for each of us, plus an espresso. It was awesome, including the piece of cake that I ate that I’m pretty sure had been soaking in Martinique rum for about 2 years. I think I was sober before dessert and then after the cake I’m pretty sure I was hammered. Not to mention the after lunch “digestif” of some apple liquor. Gotta love France. Go grab lunch at noon on a Monday afternoon and by 2:30 you’ve met a famous rugby player and you’re bombed.
Anyway, after lunch Jean-Louis insisted on bringing me out to the Stade Toulousain stadium/training complex. This was fine by me. I had been to one Stade Toulousain game but figured seeing a training or some of the players would be pretty cool. Apparently we got there early for their training so we walked around the complex a bit. I even went down onto their training field to get a little CrossFit in and flip some tires.
Eventually we wandered over to the actual stadium…
We probably weren’t supposed to be in there but that didn’t stop us. Especially when we went in downstairs to check out the clubhouse and locker room areas….Yea that says entree is strictly reserved for players and coaches…We went in anyway.
Afterwards, the players all started showing up for their training. What I found pretty cool is that Peugeot is a sponsor of the club, and as a result, pretty much the whole team drives some variation of a white Peugeot.
I ended up meeting about 19 players and I got pictures with all of them, but there’s really no need to put all of them on here..just a couple noteworthy.
-This guy was great. Timoci Matanavou. (pretty sure that’s my name, Timothy, in Fijian). So yea, he’s from Fiji and as you can see, I’m wearing an Under Armour shirt. First thing he does, he points to my shirt, and says, “C’est mon sponsor.” That’s my sponsor. I thought that was kinda cool.
-Argentinian. Patricio Albacete. Might be the biggest man I’ve ever met.
-Census Johnston. Cousin of Sione Pouha of the New York Jets. That’s not true at all. But maybe if the Jets recruited some Stade Toulousain players they’d have a legit shot at the playoffs.
-Yannick Nyanga. Pretty sure this guy is the French rugby equivalent of Adrian Peterson.
…or a long lost twin brother of Galway Titan Andre Tongo.
Ok, so like I said there are plenty of other photos with players but this is the last one I’ll show because it’s actually kind of a big deal. This last one is with Thierry Dusautoir. Captain of the French national team. That’s cool. I don’t even care if you don’t like rugby. France is a top rugby team and this is their captain. This was pretty cool.
-I mean the guy’s nickname is the “Black Destroyer” and he’s got his own Nike poster.
All in all it was an awesome day and definitely one of the top experiences that has made this year in Toulouse. Thanks again Jean-Louis for being an awesome host and showing plenty of genuine Toulousain hospitality!!