A friend tells a story of a university rugby team preparing for a match against their traditional rivals across the city. Having suffered heavy defeats in the previous seasons and the loss of the associated bragging rights, they decided on an extreme measure – they would use a ringer. A player from outside would be brought in and would play at fullback and would take all of the place kicks.
The day of the match came and the ringer arrived at the ground, not far short of seven feet tall, he seemed perfect when they watched him kicking goals from the halfway line in the pre-match warm up. The only fly in the ointment came when they gathered in the dressing room, the man would find it difficult to pass himself as a student at the university: how would he cope if someone from the opposition spoke to him at the dinner after the match? If he played well, he would be expected to be present at the gathering. They explained to him about the dinner, promising he would be paid extra to be present, and said he would have someone from their team sat either side of him and that he would not need to talk to anyone else.
The match was won by a handful of points, the team were less than gracious in their victory and were in buoyant mood. Suspicious of the university team’s new-found fullback, and stinging at the post-match comments, the opposition coach decided to probe the issue when they gathered for dinner.
The ringer was enjoying the evening, his companions were not as dull as he had heard that students were; successive pints of beer had been drunk. The opposition coach approached the table where they sat. He proffered his hand and exchanged warm greetings with everyone at the table. “What are you reading?” he asked one student. “Classics,” came the reply. “And you?” turning to another, “Medicine,” answered a young man with glowing cheeks.
Looking at the ringer, the opposition coach smiled and said, “What about yourself, what are you reading?” A look of panic came across the fullback’s face, what would he say? “What subject are you studying?” asked the coach. The ringer looked relieved, he knew what subjects were, he had been to school. “Sums,” he replied. The table exploded in laughter and the coach walked back to his team, looking satisfied with himself.
Passing oneself is a matter of words.