The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Is it too much for you to at least clean me before the summer break?

Please clean me!By Your Smelly Rugby Boots at the Bottom of Your Kit Bag

Hey, come on, do you have any idea how much it smells here in your kit bag? Iíve been in here since the end of the season, thatís over three months.

You played your last game in April Ė in the rain and thick mud, may I add Ė and then just threw me in your kit bag and just chucked me at the bottom of the wardrobe.

Is it asking too much for you just to take me out and give me a good clean? Hell, at this point Iíll even settle for a bit of fresh air. Just sit me by the back door for a few hours, you donít even have to put me in the garden. Just by the door would be enough. I actually think there are new, undiscovered forms of fungus growing in my heels.

I remember when you bought me you told your girlfriend you were Ďdefinitelyí going to keep me clean and wash and polish me; not just after matches but after training as well. I admit your girlfriendís scepticism about your statement did worry me, but I was prepared to take your word for it. After all, it was you who picked me out from all those hundreds of different boots on the store shelf. It was you who thought I was fit enough to grace your feet and assist and protect you on the rugby field.

But after making me feel special on that joyous day nearly twelve months ago, I feel you have neglected me somewhat. Even though you would throw me in your kit bag after training on a cold, wet, winter night, leaving me covered in mud, I would still be there for you come the next training session or game. Iíd still protect your feet, stop you falling over, protect your ankle from turning over, my contoured edges would help you find the sweet spot on the ball when you kicked it. And what do I get in return? Three months in the bottom of your smelly kit bag without so much as a lick of polish before you left me here!

I didnít even mind the fact you play at a low level. Few boots get to play with a famous international player, I realise that. But still, you could at least give me a clean every so often. Once a week? Is it that much to ask for? No, sticking me under the shower for about three seconds after a game doesnít count as cleaning me.

In fact, while weíre at it, youíre girlfriend isnít being a Ďgirly-wirlyí when she says your feet stink, trust me: they do. Would it really kill you to give them a quick rinse with some soap once in a while? Letting the water run over them in the shower is not how you should wash your feet. And try to wash your socks between training sessions, I beg you.

And the more your feet smell the more I smell. In fact, I stink. Donít pretend I donít, I know I do. Because every time you take me out at the rugby club, all the players around us start making retching noises. No, it isnít funny. It isnít a lark. Itís embarrassing. About the only boots less embarrassing than mine are Billís. And thatís only because they are actually so old now there more made of electrical tape than there are leather. Please, I donít want to end up like that.

Itís a shame, because it all started so well. You cleaned me twice in September after your first two games. And while you didnít exactly clean me thoroughly (you seemed to have chosen a cheap brand of polish) you did make an effort to make me look good for those early games.

If I look good, you look good. Simple, canít you see itís beneficial for both of us? Canít you see that it looks so much better when you stamp on someoneís head if your boots are shiny? You would look so much better if, next time you raked the skin off of some flanker who was killing the ball, I looked like I was made of black leather, not brown cloth.

It makes it all the worse that I know you spend the summer with that cheap pair of mouldies whilst you play touch rugby; letting your feet by cushioned and comforted by another pair of boots. I bet you clean them more than me as well. Which is unfair as they get to play in the summer when itís all sunshine and green fields. Those boots are not even fit to wear my laces.

So please, for the love of all that is decent and pure, clean me. I can literally feel myself rotting away, Iíll be lucky to make it through until Christmas without falling apart at this rate.

Please clean me.