My usual routine for covering a Cinderford RFC fixture, the National One rugby union team I cover for the Gloucester Citizen newspaper, starts with a 45-minute drive to the Forest of Dean from my home in Cheltenham, and includes a stop off at a petrol station along the way for some much-needed lunch.
However, because of my recent brain injury, I am unable to operate a car now and my girlfriend must taxi me around, so it is a good job I have treated her to an exhibition of third-tier English rugby before and she is familiar with fortress Dockham Road and the Foresters’ faithful.
The first obstacle of the day, after we pull into the club’s car park, are the tricky steps leading up to the playing field.
As I clutch the hand rail for dear life, scaling each step, my slower left leg drags up each stair behind me.
The pair of us take our seats in the supporters’ stand instead of the familiar press bench and we wait for kick-off. Normally at this point I would be frantically scouring the provided team sheet and programme for any scrap of information that is going to help me write my post-match report later.
It feels so good to be back doing something that I used to enjoy so much before my injury, although this time the pressure was off.
Amazingly, despite the giant bleed on my brain, and the subsequent gaping holes in my memory, the ability to perform my shorthand skills remained intact, albeit still as messy as before, unfortunately.
The difficulties from my injury surface in many ways, some more obvious than others, but straight away I was confronted with a rather basic problem; simply holding a reporters’ notepad in my left hand.
Another basic, but big, problem that arose because of damaged memory was simply remembering who actually still played for the Gloucestershire club and who was a new face in the team following a summer of comings and goings.
So off we went! And just like before, up went the heart rate, adrenaline and excitement levels; thankfully, that remained the same.
Before my injury, being in a large crowd of people would not bring on feelings of anxiety, this is a new development since the bleed.
Anyone who did not know me probably would not guess I have suffered a brain injury, whereas I feel I have it written across my forehead.
Every time I go to watch a live rugby match, I feel a bit of my confidence return, by watching the game I love and practicing the skills of the job I love, I feel one step closer to reaching my goal, whatever that may be.