So, writing a blog…..I think most people who write blogs go under the assumption that those reading them know who you are and where you come from. I could fall into that category but I’m not going to.
My name is Chris Cracknell, no relation to the rower, although I have claimed that in the past to get myself in to the enclosure at the Royal Regatta. In my defense I was 16 and short on funds! I am however fond of another sport and that is rugby. I prefer the term Egg Chaser. After many years playing 15 a side, in 2008 I was offered the opportunity to represent my country in the shorter, faster and in my view, more enjoyable game Rugby 7s!
This opportunity came at no greater place than the home of English rugby, Twickenham stadium. Here, on my younger brother’s 19th birthday, I played against Spain. Now to many of you this may not seem like a great baptism of fire, but we went on to beat New Zealand for the first time under the reign of Ben Ryan. For me this was the beginning of a journey which has taken me around the world enough times to make Christopher Columbus look more like a rambler than an explorer.
I now have nearly 30 IRB tournaments under my belt and am the only player to have played in all the finals Ben Ryan’s England team has reached. I was also the first English player to sign a full time 7s contract.
For me, the game of 7s started long before this at the, then named “International Henley 7s”. As a young whippersnapper, I was asked by Paul “Tommy” Turner to play for the famous White Heart Marauders. After a day of 5 exciting back to back games, we reached the semi-finals and there was a fire lit in my heart for the sport!
Fast forward 10 years, 302 days later and I’m sat in a coffee shop writing about how I attained this position of immense pride and I hope humbleness. It’s been a long road to this point and as in every rugby player’s career there have been many, many highs as well as a fair few lows. The highs for me include signing my first professional contract with Harlequins, winning the EDF cup with Cornish Pirates and playing in the Heineken cup for Bath. The highest of them all; representing my country at age group levels, 7s, winning the Wellington, Dubai and London IRB World Series 7s tournaments with England. I also have had the prestigious honor of Captaining the side, I’ve been lucky enough to do this on a couple of occasions now.
I certainly have been very lucky and blessed to do all of the above, however it is a fool who rests on his laurels and thinks “I’ve arrived”.
For me the challenge is far from over and having recently under gone a major operation (I will no doubt bore you with this in my later blogs) I feel like I have a new lease of life. I still have lots to achieve with the red rose on my chest and other challenges that undoubtedly lay around the corner.
For now I’ll leave you with this little introduction and next time will bring you up to speed with more current affairs like; how we are getting on in pre season, how my rehab is coming along, what little escapades I’ve been getting up to away from the rugby field and the run in to another exciting HSBC World Series with a new tournament and earlier start date in October rather than my life story.