Tom Bradshaw: All hail rugby's Giggsy
"Ice cream, that's how I'm going to celebrate," Lee Mears told me on Saturday after he'd made his 250th appearance for Bath Rugby.
I hope it was a quadruple portion with a Flake in each scoop because the ever- smiling, evergreen hooker deserves it.
Mears is 33 and has played his entire career at The Rec. That's a great example of club loyalty during the professional era, particularly for an international whose services have been in high demand for a long stretch of time.
Some players, understandably, feel the need to move from club to club – from country to country, even – in search of 'a fresh challenge'.
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But there is something special about the tale of the veteran player who continues to feel the throb of motivation at the club where his career began – and who continues to deliver the goods.
Mears is the Ryan Giggs of rugby union, only less hairy.
The early indications for this season are that Mears's form is as good as ever. Bath first-team coach Toby Booth was clearly delighted with the old stager's showing on Saturday.
"On his 250th game you could see Lee wanted to be out there, he was keen and he helped lead that forward pack around," said Booth.
"He was outstanding." Hear, hear to that.
Which brings me to another point. If Mears continues to be in fine fettle and tasty form, why should he be ruled out of international selection ahead of the World Cup in 2015?
England boss Stuart Lancaster was clearly looking to the future when he announced at the end of the summer tour of South Africa that Mears and Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson would not be part of his plans going forward.
Personally, I think Lancaster was a bit previous. Rule nothing in, rule nothing out. If Mears – or indeed Hodgson – is in the form of his life in two years' time, why exclude him from the national set-up in the build-up to the World Cup?
In Mears' case, hookers often get better with age. The example of his old club mate, Mark Regan, is telling – he was still playing for England until he was 36.
And it would be a brave man who told All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu that he was past it, despite him being on the wrong side of 30.
The esteem in which Mears is held – by the crowd and by his colleagues – was obvious to all at The Rec on Saturday. The crowd's response as he led the team out in the sunshine was predictably full-throated, and he got a man-hug from coach Brad Davis when things were all over.
It was a fitting way for the sweet-toothed hooker to mark a great milestone. Let's hope he enjoyed his ice cream.