Thank you to the team at BeRugby Mag for trusting me and letting me loose on their blog. My name is Nima Suchak, and while I have been a pitch-side mumsy cheerleader for the last seven years, unlike some of the real rugby pundits at BRM Towers, I’m still ‘learning on the job’.
My son has been playing for Syston RFC since he was five, and is now in the U12s. My daughter is 10, and has been playing for Leicester Tigers Swifts for the past year (I’ll fill you in on what she’s doing another week!).
It’s Saturday evening, and we’ve just watched England devour Italy in the Six Nations 2019. In all the euphoria, I’ve made a mental note to check that my son’s boots and mouth guard are in his kit bag…it’s an early start at the Club tomorrow.
But I have to admit, while rugby has become a massive part of our lives, it was never on the books for us. We are not a sporty family, and have hardly paid any passing attention to the game, but now it dominates our weekends!
Having moved from London to Leicester, it was clear to see the real action here was around rugby. As a parent, I knew the value of competitive sports, and ideally wanted my children to be involved in something that would be good for their personal growth. My cousin plays cricket for the County, and evidently sports did a lot for him. Beside being conscious of healthy eating and exercise, sports has kept him out of trouble. He couldn’t spend too much time on consoles or hang around on the streets looking for entertainment. There was always training and matches to attend. What stood out for me most was that sports gave him another set of people to look out for him, and look up to—a great set of friends, coaches and other like-minded parents.
So, once my son turned five, on a warm Autumn Sunday morning, we rocked up at Syston RFC, with little idea of what to expect. This was our first experience of a rugby club in action, and knew absolutely nothing about what it might entail.
It was indeed, a shock to the system. Was I prepared for the cold, the mud, or the time invested? No, not one bit. But what did drive me was the promise of rugby being a gentlemen’s game. I was rightly convinced that rugby would be good for him.
Being new to the culture of rugby there have naturally been moments when I’ve questioned if what I was doing was right. My ‘then’ gentle and very academic five-year-old boy would much rather have been snuggled at home, nose-in-book. He seemed unsure, almost frightened. I watched him like a hawk, cheering him on, encouraging him to step out of his comfort zone. There were times that we drove all the way to the club on a Sunday, and he refused to join in. I’m embarrassed to admit that one day I actually interrupted Manu Tuilagi and Logovi’i Mulipola in Costa while they were in mid-conversation to get their autographs to encourage my son!
The turning point for my lad was in his second season when he started to make friends at the Club. Putting the actual rugby playing aside, it’s what happened off pitch that made the difference. It was as simple as having hot chips and a fizzy drink in the clubhouse, climbing trees, building dens or sitting together chatting about video games.
Now, seven years on, I’m pleased to say sticking to rugby at Syston RFC has been one of the best choices we have made. The Club and the friendly value-based culture of rugby has been nothing but positive for my son, even at the most challenging of times.
I know some might say I was wrong to coax a five-year-old into a sport he cared so little about, but checking that he was always happy, growing in confidence in a fantastic environment can’t be bad, can it?