I lived in Cardiff for 3 years from 2003 to 2006 and I was there to witness the amazing atmosphere as Wales won the Grand Slam in the 2005 Six Nations. 150,000 people went to the park where a big screen showed the game. It was impossible to see anything so my friends and I rushed back to our local pub, the Yellow Kangaroo in Roath, to watch it there instead.
For some reason the atmosphere was such that I found myself thinking about taking up the sport. I phoned the local club with a ladies team and that was it. I was advised to buy a pair of studded boots and I made my way to Llandaff North Rubgy Club the following Wednesday. The rest is a muddle of adrenaline-packed rucking, several nose bleeds, a copious amount of Brains SA, worse injuries in the bar than on pitch, a couple of messy rugby tours, a lot of fancy dress and a fair bit ladette style behaviour!
|Llandaff North - My first rugby club ahhhhhh!|
I have to admit that whilst it took me a while to adjust to it, I ended up loving the comradeship off pitch just as much as the adrenaline of a match and I was very disappointed to find that the same ethos just wasn't there within teams I joined when I moved back to Essex. I ended up joining a small team of just 6 to 8 regular members and helped to promote the team until we had enough players to register with the RFU. I paid a lot of emphasis to comradeship and off-pitch fun, mostly for player retention but the side ended up very serious and ambitious, frowning upon my apparent lack of seriousness. My work in establishing a team was obviously done and it was time to leave. That aside I had graduated from uni and I was building a career so I needed to shed some commitment!
Now back to the present, there is a reason for my reminiscence. I have just signed my daughter up for a trial session at RuggerBugs. They are opening up a new centre at Brentwood Rugby Club which is just round the corner from us. My girl is a bit of a live wire - she doesn't even sit down to watch TV. This is good because when she does sit down I know she's poorly or tired. She loves the outdoors and loves to run around so I think she will be well suited to it. She won't have to do any contact until she's about 8 years old, by which time she might tell me she doesn't want to do it anymore and I wouldn't dream of making her do it if she doesn't enjoy it. I really look forward to seeing how she does get on with it though on Saturday, and hope she gets as much fun out of it as I used to. If on the other hand she doesn't enjoy it, I know she's now old enough to go to the other extreme and do ballet...!