Brilliant to have Rachel of @RugbyUTDParents on the blog today. I’m guessing a lot of Rugby mums and dads will be able to relate to some of the feelings Rachel went through this past weekend!!!
Thoughts of a rugby mum who has felt very lost and bewildered at our game, Rugby!
At the start of last week my youngest son who is 16 said “Mum I want to go back to rugby” to say I felt ecstatic is putting it mildly but as us parents know we don’t show it or push it because if we show any interest they take a step back. My reaction was “ok but you need to text your old coach because the last two times you have changed your mind and made me feel like a numpty!” So fair play to him he did and on Thursday he went training. The weather was bloody awful, pissing down with rain, windy and bloody cold. I have to point out at this point the reason he stopped playing was because two years ago at this point in the season, he had a terrible ankle injury which has left it weak and meant my son was anxious about playing on it again. So he decided to go back and when I asked him why, he said ” I need to be in a team again not just any team but my rugby team with my old team mates and coaches who have stood by me for over ten years. I need to be with my friends and make new ones.” This I have to say made my heart flutter with pride at how much rugby has had such an impact on a person who has had a lot of hurdles to jump his whole life, it showed me no matter what, the friends you make on the pitch matter!
So today he went, they had a home game and the coaches promised him some game time. Which after one training session, he was chuffed with, even if it was just going to be ten minutes! I dropped him off and left him to it. I actually didn’t know what to do, so I just sat in the car! I was anxious and worried about going back on to the touch line so god knows how he must have been feeling. I decided to put my big girl pants on, which I obviously put on under my 20 layers and waterproofs because as all rugby parents know, it doesn’t matter how blue the sky is, or how warm it feels in your garden, once you have stood there for 2 hours, its bloody cold!!! I went into the club house got a coffee (standard crap coffee) and just stood there, then in came one of his old coaches, he was chuffed to bits that Jack was back and that we were hopefully part of the team again.
Then another came in and suddenly I had that unconditional rugby family feeling again, that no matter what has happened or how long it’s been, its there and you are always a part of it and do you know what? It’s the best feeling in the world, the world of a rugby family, it’s a place to escape to and be part of that will always support you and be there for you.
The Game: well it was decided that he would go on at half time for a run out and see how he got on. As in typical rugby style that didn’t happen he went on about twenty mins into the first half due to an injury, obviously at this point I thought shit here we go and I went back true to form as a rugby mum, pacing up and down the touch line. Yes, I annoyed the coaches and the people taking photos but I didn’t care I could only watch Jack with my heart in my mouth!
But I didn’t need to stress or worry when he looked lost because he has not played for two years, I didn’t need to worry when he had to prop in the scrum again or didn’t quite know where to be! Why????? because those boys, his team mates, who actually are nearly all boys he has only meet once, guided him, helped him and supported him. I stood there and watched in front of my eyes a young lad being taken under their wings and not showed up as someone who’s not played for two years. I stood there in total awe at these young men standing up and helping a new team mate, I thought “wow, when did I last see that?” a no questions asked friendship and team work? A “we are a team and we will work as team mentality’, it was like a breath of fresh air and suddenly all my worries evaporated and I knew that he would be and will be fine as long as he had his rugby mates.
I know that this is the case as his oldest and best lifelong friends are the boys he met 15 years ago when he first started playing, obviously picking up a lot more on his own personal rugby journey.
He lasted till ten mins before the final whistle and his ankle went only slightly but the coaches were not taking any chances. As he hobbled of he had tears in his eyes I thought oh shit I’m up A&E this afternoon rather than enjoying a lovely bottle of wine. But phew, they were not tears of pain but out of pure frustration because he didn’t want to come off or not see the game till the end. His coaches were fantastic, the praise and feedback he received was amazing and in the team talk at the end they congratulated him and he was chuffed.
At the clubhouse he was still wound up so unfortunately decided to pass on the after game meal and just get in the car! So in true rugby mum fashion I asked him if a McDonalds would help…. the nod was all he needed to give me!
So I suppose after all my babble about my sons rugby experience today the reason I have decided to write this is because well today actually made me happy and if it made me happy then it must have made all the others parents and supporters there happy too. If the players are happy and well then that’s all we need in this life we all lead, that is full of people saying unkind things on social media about other people and issues, because of this, I just wanted to share my happy day and perhaps my happy day might make one person think (more hopefully) that to actually go watch your local rugby club team play, to go and be part of something that is good and friendly and to have no questions asked or better then that, to get to go and watch your kid play. Don’t just drop them off and go to Tesco, go and be part of their experience and enjoy it to! Or if you have a kid that doesn’t play take them along to watch with you because you never know it might be the start of something new and good for you all!
On that note all I have to say is remember grass roots rugby. It’s where it all begins!