4on4 Road Trip – A Reflection

TCW Columnist Paul Balm gives his own personal final reflection of the 4on4 Road Trip after our final total was announced last week

You’ve probably already seen that we announced that the 4on4 Road Trip raised an incredible £8,250 for Cancer Research UK. Jono has asked me to write something about the fact that the 4on4 Road Trip has now drawn to a close and I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say that I haven’t already said in the blog posts I did as we travelled the country back in March. If you haven’t read them already they can be found at http://blog.4on4roadtrip.co.uk . I wouldn’t look at the length of this article and think the old blogs will be a quicker way of reading about this as they won’t. I tend to ramble at the best of times and it looks like the lack of sleep made my ramblings longer than ever. Don’t worry I’ll try and keep this briefer.

Still here? Good.
It’s over three months since we finished the journey and looking back at it now I think I can begin to put things into the right perspective. I think events like this need to have a certain degree of difficulty about them. No-one would have sponsored us if we were taking four days to do something we could have done in two. There were times when I could have lost my temper with people, there may have been times when I did but I’m equally sure that there were almost certainly times when one of the other three could have strangled me (I could probably tell you when they were but I won’t give Jono, Adam and Steve the chance to prove me right). When you’ve only had an hour’s sleep in about 39 things can get a little frayed. It’s easy at the time to let the pressure, and there is pressure in events like this that have a timetable that you’ve got to stick to, and the tiredness get to you but you have to try and remember that the reason you’re doing it and, now, looking back I can see that. It wasn’t perfect but I never expected it to be but I know now that I loved doing it not least for the money we raised.

One of the things I enjoyed most was the unexpected things that happen on the way. Knowing that you’re going somewhere and when you get there someone is going to give you something is great but no matter where you’re going or what you’re going to be given it never quite compares to being given something as a surprise. There was something special about walking into Dundee Ice Arena just to get a couple of pictures taken to be met completely out of the blue by someone from the team who’d got a game-worn shirt to give us for the auction. I don’t want to say that we didn’t appreciate the things that we knew were going to happen because we did it’s just that I think it’s the surprise that makes it so much better.

The response we’ve had on all the forums since we posted our final total has been nothing short of amazing but I want to use this column to set the record straight about something. There have been one or two posts saying that we’re “stars” or “heroes”. Comments like that very gratifying and it’s very kind kind of people to think that about us but we’re not stars, we’re not heroes. We’re just four people who sat in a car for a few days and watched a few games of ice hockey. There are scores of people out there doing a lot bigger and harder things than we ever did in their everyday lives. It is nice that people think that though.

Finally, and I guess this was always going to be the final topic, there’s the question of will we ever do this again and I want to say that what I type below is purely my opinion on the subject and not necessarily the thoughts of the other three. Someone has asked if we’re going to make the 4on4 Road Trip an annual event and I think the answer has to be a fairly firm “No”. I think an event like the 4on4 Road Trip needs to have a certain amount of mystique about it. Like I said before there has to be an element of “will they, won’t they make it” about it and if we did it every year I think the event would lose that edge. People would start to wonder what the point was, “they did it last year, they’ll do it this year” and that would detract from it. So, will we ever do it again? Whilst my answer isn’t as definite this time it is pretty much the same. Some of you with longer memories may remember that I (along with Adam and Jono) was part of the Rink Rush back in 2005. When that finished I would quite cheerfully have done it all over again and I felt that way for years after. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe the 4on4 Road Trip has got it out of my system once and for all or maybe I just need a break from stuff like this. I simply don’t know at the moment. I do know that my appetite for travelling the country watching hockey has been whetted though. I want to watch ice hockey in Fife, I want to find food in Braehead that’s better than the hot dogs in the Arena and I want to drink a pint in The Crown in Belfast when I’m not in danger of falling asleep in it.

So this is really it (apart from writing a couple of cheques). There’s been highs and lows, good times and bad but they’ve all been worth it. I know that I’ll take so much more away from the 4on4 Road Trip than the money raised (as fantastic as it was). It’s been emotional as Vinnie Jones was once told to say.


1 Response to “4on4 Road Trip – A Reflection”

  1. 1 Grumpyminer June 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Stars!? Heroes!?
    Yes I guess there were.
    Everyone who “kindly” sponsored and donated, whether it was 10p in a bucket, buying a badge, or paying for transport and accommodation. Those who gave their time to help collect, count and organise. Those who helped publicise and promote. They were the real stars, the proper heroes!
    We just brought that together, on our travels, under the banner of the 4on4 Road Trip.

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