Like a Rolling Stone

I remember being tucked up in bed, maybe I was five or six, and listening to my dad tell me a story about a boulder named Barry. I could be wrong, but I think he was reciting it from memory. Or making it up. Either way, I don’t recall there being a book in his hands and I’ve never seen or heard the story again since. I must ask Dad next time I see him.

But anyway, this story had all the makings of a classic. Barry the boulder was the smallest boulder in his family. He lived high on a mountaintop surrounded by lots of other boulders, all bigger than he was. Every day, Barry wished he was bigger, but it takes a long time for rocks to grow — sometimes millions of years. He didn’t want to wait. He wanted to be strong and powerful now, so heavy that no living thing could ever lift him.

In the wintertime, snowflakes would fall, coating the mountaintop with a sheet of sparkling white. Sometimes the snow was so thick that it would completely bury poor Barry. Once, he was fully submerged for three whole days before the flakes melted enough for him to see the world around him. He felt so helpless.

Day after day he continued to wish. At night, he’d dream fantastic dreams, in which he towered over his friends and they all looked up to him. Then, one day, he heard the footsteps of a mountain climber. And before Barry could yell ‘Watch out!’, the climber had picked Barry up and dropped him into his pocket.

Barry was nervous. It was dark in the pocket, and he was being thrown from side to side with the climber’s every step. But Barry was also excited. He was going somewhere. He was doing something. Suddenly, a hand reached in and pulled him into the light. Before Barry even had time to take in the sights, the climber had thrown him over the edge.

Barry soared through the air for a while, before he bounced off a rock and began tumbling down the mountain. It was terrifying. Even though the powdery snow made for a soft landing, Barry couldn’t stop his momentum. He soon found himself hurtling towards the bottom, snowflakes sticking to him as he went. With each roll, Barry grew bigger. It wasn’t long before he was a huge snowball.

He was bigger than ever before. Bigger than all his friends and family. So heavy that no living thing could lift him. He felt powerful. He felt strong. It was everything he’d ever dreamed of.

And then my dad stopped the story and said ‘Where do you think Barry is going?’

‘The bottom of the mountain,’ I replied.

‘Yes,’ said Dad, ‘but what will he find there? Will he crash? What if there are houses in his way? Or people? Will he slow down and stay huge forever? Will people come to visit him? Take photos and talk about how big he is? Will Barry be happier now that he is big? Or would he have been better to stay small?’

I looked at him blankly.

‘You think about it,’ he said, and then he walked out the door.

SET OF SIX

1) Gathering momentum. Barry’s story still puzzles me to this day, and maybe feels as though it has little relevance to the Warriors or Warrior Nation, but you can read into it what you will. Whether his story is relevant or not, it’s certainly true that this Warriors season is gathering some serious momentum. Where this avalanche of success is taking us is still to be determined, but speeding down the mountain, growing in confidence with every turn, sure is fun.

2) Hurtling. Speaking of momentum, the pace at which the Warriors played on Saturday night, particularly in the first 35 minutes, was excellent. Every ball-carrier ran hard and fast, throwing themselves at the defensive line without fear. The Cowboys simply couldn’t match that level of intensity and desire, and the game was all but secure by halftime.

3) Beast mode. There will only ever be one Manu Vatuvei. I may live the rest of my life and not see another Warrior that I enjoyed watching more than Manu at his best, which is why the ‘Mini Beast’ nickname for Ken Maumalo has never sat well with me. But it’s time to give Maumalo a shout out for his efforts this season. Like Manu, he’s copped plenty of criticism in his career about his handling and his defence, but his ball-carrying this season has been immense. On Saturday night, he topped the run metres, won penalties and fought to play the ball quickly. Along with David Fusitu’a and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Maumalo is establishing himself as a key part of the form back-three in the competition.

4) Have another go, mate. In previous seasons, an 18–6 halftime lead would have felt anything but safe. Especially against JT x 2. Remember when the Warriors were 16–0 up at Mt Smart in 2015? But this 2018 version of the Warriors plays like they believe no one will ever cross their line. Would it be crazy to suggest this is the best the men from Mt Smart have ever looked on defence in their entire history?

5) Thank you, come again. There are plenty of jokes flying around about the rapidly growing Warriors’ bandwagon, but the more the merrier I say. What an atmosphere. Let’s get a full house every week!

6) Best yet. There was a lot of excitement in the aftermath of the win against the Roosters, but to me this was a much more impressive performance. The Cowboys were desperate to get their season back on track. They completed sets at a high level, and threw plenty at the Warriors’ goal line. They fought right to the final whistle, and produced a performance that would have easily taken care of either side in the curtain-raiser. But still the men from Mt Smart never looked like losing. Things just keep getting better. #UnbeatenIn2018

FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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