Rugby mum – Picking up rugby tips
Be in the know this Rugby World Cup!
Hooray, we’re all in the throes of a very enjoyable Rugby World Cup 2019! Mornings have taken on a new feel—catching a match on TV, or sneakily following at our desks! However we navigate it, what’s happening in Japan is on everyone’s minds.
But what if, like me, you enjoy watching the game, but don’t know enough about the technical details?
Admittedly, there have been embarrassing moments when I’ve tried to sound like I know what’s going on, but failed miserably. And like many converts and fresh rugby parents, I learned to fit in and pretend I knew—I clapped when everyone else clapped, cheered when everyone else did, and mastered a convincing nod when a wannabe rugby pundit decided to share their expert opinion.
Of course, things are a different now I’ve been part of the rugby community for seven years now. And each season I’ve watched my children from the side lines, I’m possibly a bit more enlightened on ‘some’ of the details. And as with anything, rugby is definitely more enjoyable now I understand it a bit more. But coming from a background where rugby is seen as alien, there are many ways to find out. So here’s my lowdown on how I continue to learn the rules of rugby.
- Ask someone. We spend two hours on match day and two hours at training standing on the side lines trying to manage frizzy windswept hair and stamp out frozen toes. Those four hours a week are much more tolerable when you can actually follow a game. I’ve gradually discovered that people who I thought were die-hard rugby geeks actually didn’t know as much as they made out. So it is reassuring to know I wasn’t alone. So use your time wisely and sniff out another rugby parent, enjoy a coffee by the side lines and ask them to explain some stuff to you. You will quickly find that that real rugby buffs will be happy to talk rugby to you—or anyone else.
- Tune in. Find out if your local radio station has a dedicated rugby programme. The BBC Leicester Tigers Rugby Show airs at the same as our drive to mid-week training so it really sets the tone for the evening. The guests discuss the week’s rugby news, issues, fitness, along with other matters of interest. It’s an entertaining way to hear various perspectives on the different elements of rugby life without feeling you need to say something.
- Read up. Last Christmas my son’s coach recommended that we add The Dummies guide to Rugby Union to Santa’s list. Admittedly my lad hasn’t read the book yet, but it’s been a valuable reference guide for me to learn the ropes. There are loads of books you can buy/borrow, web links and blogs to immerse yourself in the rugby spirit. Perhaps ask a coach what they would suggest #askingforafriend.
- BeRugby Magazine. We all subscribed to BRM for the kids, didn’t we? But some things really have added benefits. Since the first issue I prised out of my kids’ hands, the mag has taught me loads. It delivers a world of club news, player interviews, tips and skills, in simple, no-nonsense, jargon free language. I can honestly say I’ve even managed to impress seasoned rugby fans when I’ve casually shared bits of information from the mag!
- Talk with a child. I was at a Tigers match at Welford Road, conveniently sat beside a pre-teen player from my son’s club, Syston RFC. It was one of the first premiership games we had ever been to, and frankly, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Everyone was watching intently, singing and chanting. Though I could soak in the atmosphere, I wanted to know what was happening. I nudged the boy, offering him some of my son’s sweets as I started to quiz him. He seemed happy to explain without making me feel silly. I genuinely learned so much about the game just by sitting next to him. That lad now plays for Syston’s Colts, and he may not even remember the Tigers game where he taught me so much, but I’ll be ever-grateful. I just hope I can enjoy the World Cup matches just as much with my little players by my side.
Nima Suchak, a rugby mum