Centre Steve Parker is in sevens heaven for improving Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club
Given it's how he spends his day job, the last thing Steve Parker needed was to be fire fighting when he returned to action for Scunthorpe Rugby Union Club last month.
Having been impressed by his and his colleagues' improving performances of late, life at Heslam Park should pose no such problems for the talented back, a fire fighter in the RAF.
Scunthorpe have won three and lost four matches in National Three Midlands this season and sit precariously positioned just a point above the relegation zone in the embryonic league table.
The Greens though, have already faced three of the top four sides, the last experience of which came last weekend when they lost 41-0 at table-topping Sutton Coldfield.
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Despite lacking consistency – Parker and Co have yet to enjoy successive successes this season – the tough-tackling centre is happy with the way things are shaping up.
"It's been good. I've had quite a lot of ball," said Parker of his efforts so far this season.
"I played quite a bit of sevens in the summer and pulled my hamstring a couple of months ago, which set me back quite a few weeks. I've been itching to get on the pitch.
"I think we've stepped up a gear in the last few weeks – I think we had to. Every week we keep improving but we have to put it into a full game and get the sort of results we keep talking about.
"The potential is there. Looking at the lads on paper, there's a lot of promise coming through and a lot of the lads are doing a lot of work outside of training – like in the gym.
"Everyone has taken on board the importance of conditioning themselves."
Parker's return to Heslam Park came via an unusual route, with the 26-year-old helping the RAF to a bronze medal in the inaugural International Defense Sevens competition in Colorado during the middle of August.
Such trips don't just offer players the chance to broaden their horizons, they also get the privilege of passing on their knowledge to others – and above all else, improve their fitness.
"It's really good, playing for RAF," he continued.
"The sevens get to go to quite a few places – we're off to Dubai to play in an international match in December, which should be good.
"The World Series goes all over, places like Las Vegas and others you wouldn't normally associate with rugby.
"I went to India to do some charity work down in the slums, coaching their coaches. There's a lot of good stuff they do.
"I really like it, playing sevens. It's a lot stripped back. Everything is under the microscope so if you make a mistake, it's a try.
"It stands me in good stead though for 15s because you have to work so hard on your fitness.
"In Colorado we were playing in 35 degree heat and the pitches were a mile high, so the altitude is quite a big factor."
The temperature was much more tepid during Scunthorpe's game at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.
The Greens were beaten by the league leaders, who have now enjoyed seven straight wins this season, but Parker says they put up a better fight than the final scoreline suggests, particularly during the opening 20 minutes.
"The score didn't really reflect the game. We made some silly mistakes and they capitalised on them," he said.
"Looking back and talking about it with the lads, our defence was really good and we were well organised.
"That should stand us in good stead for the game against Syston this weekend.
"Those are the games – the Newports, Derbys and Mansfields, people like that – and the teams we target.
"We need to get a five-pointer from this one. It's well within our grasp."
Parker is hoping he will get a chance to play in such battles – barring, of course, his sevens sabbatical to the United Arab Emirates just before Christmas.
He is scheduled to be stationed at Waddington until April, when he will move on to an as yet unknown destination.
"Life in a blue suit is the old cliche they use I think," laughed Parker.
Life in a green jersey is proving equally as uplifting.