The pain game
My feet left the ground, my body moved violently backwards and my brain experienced a momentary disorientation that was only corrected when I finally returned to terra firma - backside first.
Welcome, I thought ruefully, to the bone-crunching and body-bruising world of rugby league.
As I looked up from the deck I saw the friendly smile of two-time Man of Steel winner Paul Sculthorpe. It was completely devoid of anger or malice - and totally at odds with the pain that had just been inflicted by its owner.
The former Great Britain and St Helens loose forward asked whether he had tackled me too hard.
"No," I replied tamely. What else could I say? After all, driven by a foolhardy desire to be able to say that I'd been splattered by Scully, I had asked him to do it.
"How close was that to a full-on tackle - 30 or 40% of maximum impact?" I asked, out of breath but still full of enthusiasm.
Sculthorpe looked at me like a father consoling a child who had recently been humiliated at a school sports day.
"Yes," he said. And after a pregnant pause, he added: "Something like that..."
It wasn't as if Scully had tackled me directly, man on man. I had the security of a tackle pad to ease the impact.
Later, as I reflected on my first taste of playing a game that I have admired for years from the safe side of the whitewash, it occurred to me that Sculthorpe himself had retired at 30 after three injury-plagued seasons had robbed him of the physical attributes that had helped make him the best player in the British game.
But he looked fit and healthy as he and Harlequins skipper Rob Purdham put a decidedly mixed bag of journalists through their paces in the rather refined surrounds of the Honourable Artillery Company in the City of London.
The event was organised by rugby league Championship sponsors Co-operative and aimed at providing an insight into the physical demands of one of the toughest sports around.
I started out the session feeling a mixture of anxiety and excitement. I was anxious because my right knee, ankles, collar bone, right elbow and at least two fingers have been fractured or broken during my years on earth.
I was excited because I haven't thrown a rugby ball since I was a scrawny lad at school, who was tackled into touch for a laugh by the bruisers, sliding for ages in the mid-winter mud. That was playing union - and it was now time for some new, happier memories.
Yet within minutes of starting the first tackling drill I was experiencing a profound sense of regret, while looking around hopefully to see whether anybody was in more trouble than me.
It had not sounded all that hard. Chest on the ground, up on to your feet, run backwards 10 yards and then back on to your chest before regaining your feet once again and sprinting 20 yards, at which point you smash into a training pad, leading with the left shoulder.
I started out holding the pad (wondering far too late exactly how one is supposed to hold it) and was frankly terrified as a fellow journalist ripped through the yards that separated us with the enthusiasm of a hound chasing his quarry.
Thankfully, I soon realised that repetition quickly equates to a reduction in impact. He ran out of steam, although I suspect not as quickly as I did. We gradually built up so that by the end we did four in a row and - pathetic as this may sound - I was quietly ecstatic when Sculthorpe said it was time for a breather.
Several passing drills followed and then more tackling skills, with the two eventually combined so that we had to collect a pass and run through two tackle pads before offloading.
Once, I was thinking so hard about how I was going to burst through the two tacklers that I forgot to catch the ball. I will think twice before yelling at the television when I next see a player needlessly knock-on.
Nonetheless, I was starting to enjoy myself. The session was proving to be less intense than the opening drill, although in retrospect I suspect that Sculthorpe had quickly appraised the fitness of his charges.
We also did some wrestling drills. It is an important part of the game these days as wrestling an opponent on to their back can restrict his ability to offload the ball.
We buddied up for this section as Purdham put a me and a colleague through our paces. The drill started with a lot of childish sniggering as I got down on all fours while somebody I didn't know very well got close enough to detect whether I had remembered to put deodorant on.
It was actually quite technical as it required the tackler to reach under his opponent's chest, grab his arm and pull it towards him so that he flipped the other bloke on to his back.
I thought the session was going to end with a game of touch rugby - that was certainly what it said in the itinerary - but it ended with some kicking at goal.
I started out by nailing my first three attempts. I asked Purdham what price he would give me to convert my fourth. He thought for a moment and then said 4-1, which seemed pretty long odds to me and might have undermined my confidence as my form flew out of the window after that and a succession of shanked kicks followed.
Apparently Sculthorpe had decided that making the step up to an actual game might be beyond us - and in most cases he was probably right.
I'd secretly been keeping a little in reserve and was ready to execute some pretty reasonable moves. The aches (particularly, it has to be said, in my buttocks) as I climbed gingerly out of bed on the two following mornings told another story.
The slightly wooden shuffle that I was reduced to was probably a comment on the ageing process allied to my own risible level of fitness rather than a reflection of the rigorous demands of the session, but there is no doubt that rugby players are hard and courageous men.
Those values will be on display this weekend as Leeds and defending champions Warrington contest the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
I'll be watching that match from the stands, hopefully basking in the sun with a beer in my hand as I watch the big boys crash into each other.
I loved my taste of rugby league but, from now on, I'll be leaving it to the professionals.