Four months after announcing his retirement from professional rugby, former Osprey Lyndon Bateman says that he's looking forward to the challenges of 'life in the real world'.
The 31-year old second row hung up his boots in June after failing to recover from a dislocated patella sufficiently to continue playing rugby at elite level, but after calling time on his playing days, he’s getting used to a new way of life for the Bateman family
“Obviously, life as a professional rugby player has given me some fantastic opportunities for which I’m grateful, but I’ve got to move on now” he said.
“I suppose I’m only now really coming to terms with it. The fact that I’m no longer involved is more evident now that the season is underway isn’t it? Off-season, and during pre-season, you don’t really notice. There has been plenty going on in my life over the last few months that meant I wasn’t really noticing it, I didn’t really have time to sit and think about things.
“I moved house over the summer, the family has moved to Llandeilo, which obviously had to be sorted out and I’ve had the kids too keep me busy as well. Now that the kids have settled in their new school and the season is well underway, this is when you realise that you aren’t a rugby player anymore and it’s time to move on.”
After a playing career that saw him turn out for the Ospreys on 79 occasions and win two Celtic League titles, the challenge facing Bateman now is to carve out an off the field career. He says that having enjoyed a short summer break, he is looking forward to getting back into a disciplined routine in the world of employment:
“I hadn’t been looking that far ahead to be honest, I hadn’t considered having to finish playing early so there aren’t any long term plans and now I’ve got to get down to the job hunting. Obviously, being a professional rugby player for the last ten years means my life has been pretty structured day-to-day and I want to get that routine of getting up in the morning and going off to work back as soon as I can.
“I worked pre-rugby, so I know what a working life is all about and I’m not frightened about getting out there and getting my hands dirty. It’s going to be a bit strange walking into a new place, wherever that will be, but I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine of it.
“While I was obviously gutted about having to finish playing, I have to look at it as an opportunity to move into new areas. The time comes in everybody’s life that they have to move on and take a fresh challenge. There are things I’d like to do, I’m very much an outdoor person and living in Llandeilo now there are hopefully a number of opportunities in that area that I can pursue.”
Bateman’s service to the region was recognised by the new Ospreys Supporters Club at the first game of the new season, when he was made the first lifetime member of the OSC.
“That was a tremendous honour that I’m incredibly grateful for. It was a moving evening, to see the reception I got from the fans was brilliant. All the squad came over to the Riverside club house after the game to join me, something I really appreciated. I’ll always be an Osprey, I have so many great memories of my time playing for the region and that evening is another memory to add to the list.”