A chilly Saturday autumn morning proved to be a perfect backdrop for the start of our rugby season. It was with great excitement and expectation that our boys arrived on the field of dreams. Some of the boys chatted uncontrollably, while others stood quietly listening and calming their minds.
Nervous tension was matched by the very supportive parents: Dads equal to the coaching task, offering encouragement and varied game strategy advice to their sons, while moms proudly stood by and no doubt cherished the father/son relationship gifted by sport but also secretly praying that each boy is safe and enjoys a hurt free game in their first preparatory contact sport.
Staff and coaches were not immune to the passion and energy displayed by the boys, Sure we had hoped for positive results but honestly our focus was more on good rugby skills within their ability range, FUN factor, exposure to play and the joy of being a boy playing with his mates. We hoped each boy from our U9 squad would leave the field with a growing positive self esteem, a sense of pride in his self, team and school and many zealous memories that he could relay to parents while driving home and/or share with Gramps/Gran or any of the clan not at the game.
Reflecting on our first game and our preliminary training sessions, it is clear that this lovely code, this game; offers so much more than just a match result. Rugby adds to our teaching and learning. It enriches our values and reminds us:
Little things matter – Sure tries win games and big tackles often take the headlines. Equally of value are the disruptions at the rucks and mauls, clean-ups, feeding the ball across the back line, a strong defence, a short memory on mistakes and the positive focus on our strengths.
Size does and does not matter – In a contact sport, being blessed with size does have its advantage, similarly, skill, speed and reading the game adds to a skill set. Just as in rugby so to in life there is a place for us all. Often we would use the mantra with our boys: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but rather the size of the fight in the dog that counts. Say no more…
Life’s better when we stick together – As with all team sports, rugby teaches us that achieving goals as a team is more rewarding than doing so as an individual. The current positive vibe and interaction between staff/coaches and parents is also a constructive example for our boys. Team work or having someone else to depend on makes our school and our world a better place.
Show Respect - Respect for self and others is valued at our school. On the rugby field it still remains as important as ever. Respect for the referee, your team mate or your opposite number and as our boys mature, no doubt, respect for their “jersey”.
Pain is inevitable – Here we don’t mean to be the archaic “Cowboys Don’t Cry mindset” but within reason whining on the field as in life is not productive and saps energy. We need to pick ourselves up. It matters not how many times we fall but how many times we get up.
Good things come to those who wait - Sure we still need to coach that running around aimlessly or out of position is ineffective. Instead, we need to seek out the perfect opportunity to make our move while trusting the others around us to do the same.
Life and rugby don’t offer a guaranteed safety manual – The nature of the game is physical contact, life does not cushion us from physical, emotional and living knocks. Resilience and courage will see us through.
Passion and commitment are our DNA – put these two values with equal measures into your game and life and we will nourish heart and soul. We may win or lose a game, we may be disappointed or rewarded in life, but either way we would be fully alive.
We wish all our boys continued success and fond memories. Thank you boys for reminding us of the joy that is teaching.
Enjoy your rugby