National One, a division which features some of the longest jaunts in rugby, gets under way this weekend but for most clubs even epic journeys to outposts like Tynedale and Redruth are light relief compared to the tortures of the summer months.
Take Coventry for example, the joys of an early morning encounter with the M1 and 450-mile round trip to Corbridge, will be relatively unconfined this Saturday after the torture of relegation from the Championship and its ramifications.
But inmates at the Butts Park Asylum, sorry Arena, are not the only ones who had a rough time of it since the farcical 2009-10 campaign drew to a close.
While the rest of us have been watching tennis, on the beach, sailing and walking in the mountains without so much as a thought for the union code, clubs the length and breadth of the country have been struggling to come to terms with their place in the new structure.
The Rugby Football Union no longer provides funding for clubs at level three, which means businesses like Coventry and Stourbridge – admittedly ones who have gone about their economic activity in starkly different ways for the last decade – now have to succeed or fail according to their own abilities.
Quite right too, you might say, look where handouts and delusions of grandeur got Coventry in the first place but that doesn’t mean the process of debunking such delusions hasn’t been painful.
At both of the region’s leading exponents of the ‘community game’ there has been a mass exodus of players. Cov have retained just a handful of the men who took them down, while Stour are set to field a team of at least a dozen debutants against Macclesfield on Saturday.
They have gone about their recruitment in different ways. Phil Maynard has ‘given opportunities to leading players from local clubs’, while Neil Mitchell has got into bed with Richard Hill, Tony Windo and Thinus Delport. Quite an image.
The upheaval makes this season’s National One something of a lottery. Clearly London Scottish are going to win the title but, as for the rest, it could be second from top or second from bottom. Which one will be decided by how scores of young men respond to an afternoon in Hell Fire corner.