How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

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Benthos
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How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

The dominant line-out vs dominant scrum? fred made me reminisce about how I got into this marvellous game of ours. I didn’t touch a rugby ball until I was 17, as my oddball PE teacher always put me in the oikball training when we had ‘Games’.

Bizarrely he was responsible for my later baptism of mire and coached me as a grown-up. He explained that he always knew I’d be a rugby player but he was waiting for the right time to introduce me to the sport. Knob.

Anyway, did rugby grab you at school? Or did your old man / older brother introduce you? Or did your PE teacher see an opportunity to give you some 1:1 coaching, and cornered you behind the changing rooms with a jar of Vaseline and a ridged tracksuit bottom..?

Rummage around in that sticky grey stuff twixt yer lugs and share stories of the violation of your egg-chasing hymen.

Shamelessly C&Ped from that fred...
My introduction to rugby (which I’d never played nor watched; given I’m 6’5”, tells you all you need to know about our inept PE teacher) was being pressganged into playing 2nd row in an Upper VIth house match because loads of kids were laid out with the flu. I was told: jump here, push here, hit those c@nts if they have the ball, and in the unlikely event you have the ball in open play, for Christ’s sake don’t pass it, just point your arse at the opposition and wait for someone to grab the ball off you.

Wasn’t particularly challenging but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it (especially as I was a complete spastic at everything sporty - except playing oikball in goal... to illustrate: I could step over a higher bar than I could actually high jump...)

The PE teacher who had ignored me for 4 years was also coach of the local (senior) village team. They were decimated by the same Dickensian number and were short of a lock for an important cup tie the following Saturday. I was told unceremoniously I was playing and to borrow some kit.

15 massive, hairy 30 & 40 yr old blokes & me scrummaging was a different prospect to poncing around with a bunch of skinny kids. No one told me about the ears thing...

By the second scrum I was trying my hardest not to scream like a girl as my dainty little adolescent ears were progressively mangled & torn. They were a bloody mess by the end of the match - and they were so swollen & stuck out I looked like Prince Charles in a vacuum.

I was completely f@cking hooked! I bought a bandage roll and some insulating tape straight away and told the twat of a coach I was available the following Saturday. And thus began an affair with the (inorganic) love of my life!
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Poshprop
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Poshprop »

My mum took me to mini rugby aged 7 or 8 at local club, Luctonians, that was only 3 miles away which in rural Herefordshire is right on your doorstep. Had always enjoyed sport, played football for school footy team and swam for the school at that point so was a little sporty anyway and rugby just suited me. I enjoyed it and my secondary school was a rugby school so just grew from there. Only just retired due to covid last year at 47 (although may still play the odd game when I can)
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Benthos
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

Poshprop wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:40 pm My mum took me to mini rugby aged 7 or 8 at local club, Luctonians, that was only 3 miles away which in rural Herefordshire is right on your doorstep. Had always enjoyed sport, played football for school footy team and swam for the school at that point so was a little sporty anyway and rugby just suited me. I enjoyed it and my secondary school was a rugby school so just grew from there. Only just retired due to covid last year at 47 (although may still play the odd game when I can)
47? Good effort!

Did you have the ‘rona itself, or was it the crap around the pandemic - no sports, etc. - that made you accelerate your retirement?

I was gutted to have to knock it on the head in my late 20s. Was diagnosed with a mild neuropathy and my feet got all mangled so that I literally couldn’t walk for days after a game. Kept kidding myself that being on crutches for the start of every working week was entirely normal. The day I trundled onto the sales floor on a Monday in a wheelchair to looks of ‘WTF???’ from my hair-gelled attack dogs was when I thought this ain’t normal!

Have ached to play just one more time ever since, of course. But, 47 - sharrr-poh, mursewer!
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Jensrsa
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Jensrsa »

I went to a primary school in Zimbabwe with 23 to 30 kids in the school but was sent to to a big Afrikaans school in SA for Grade 7 where I started playing rugby. Stayed in SA for high school too. Small Town Afrikaans schools in those days only had athletics in summer and rugby in winter. Cricket wasn't a thing there. We'd put a cricket team together from mainly Zim kids when a school from Joburg was on tour
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by You can call me Bill »

I got taken to minis as a scrawny sack of bones, and couldn't stand it. In junior school it was mandatory, and I became that pathetic plum who would literally through the ball away to avoid being tackled. I spent my years at senior school playing any sport to get out of it, including cross country which isn't even a sport. I finally starting playing - ironically out of choice - in my early 20s. I found not only that I had an unusual ability as an elusive runner, but that within a few seasons I had mastered reading and anticipating the game, as well as the all important bounce of the ball, and was also a crunching tackler.
By 30, still hating it and never having learned to pass the f**king ball properly, it had buggered up most of my body and I was done with it. I still can't stand it to this day, but at least I have a vague notion of what's involved when watching the 6 nations and world cup on the tv.
Last edited by You can call me Bill on Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Benthos
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

Jensrsa wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:03 pm I went to a primary school in Zimbabwe with 23 to 30 kids in the school but was sent to to a big Afrikaans school in SA for Grade 7 where I started playing rugby. Stayed in SA for high school too. Rural Afrikaans schools in those days only had athletics in summer and rugby in winter. Cricket wasn't a thing there. We'd put a cricket team together from mainly Zim kids when a school from Joburg is on tour
I was actually really f&cked off I didn’t even see a rugby ball til I was 17. Would love to have gone to school in SA, NZ or Wales, where I couldn’t have avoided getting into the sport at a young age.
As I say, however, you’d think that a non-skinny 6’5” 15 yr old, threatened with expulsion if he got into one more scrap would have been handed a bloody rugby ball at some point!

Maybe the fact I was also the school swot and a speccy, sporting spastic convinced them I wasn’t the rugby type. I looked like Roland from Grange Hill on steroids! On the other hand I was quite a scrapper (speccy swots kinda have to be!) and I was suspended for one of my customers literally blowing to bits the bike sheds with the homemade 1.5kg ammonium nitrate + diesel bomb I sold them, so I was obviously borderline psychotic - perfect lock material!
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Benthos
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

You can call me Bill wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:06 pm I got taken to minis as a scrawny sack of bones, and couldn't stand it. I spent my years at senior school playing any sport to get out of it, including cross country which isn't even a sport. I finally starting playing - ironically out of choice - in my early 20s. I found not only that I had an unusual ability as an elusive runner, but that within a few seasons I had mastered reading and anticipating the game, as well as the all important bounce of the ball. By 30, still hating it, it had buggered up most of my body and I was done with it. I still can't stand it to this day, but at least I have a vague notion of what's involved when watching the 6 nations and world cup on the tv.
... :uhoh:

Riiiight. So... you’re here for the *cough* nuanced political debate, then, if you hate the sport so much..?

Either that or the cock. But I thought we agreed that’s on Tuesdays, no..?
You can call me Bill
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by You can call me Bill »

Benthos wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:21 pm
You can call me Bill wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:06 pm I got taken to minis as a scrawny sack of bones, and couldn't stand it. I spent my years at senior school playing any sport to get out of it, including cross country which isn't even a sport. I finally starting playing - ironically out of choice - in my early 20s. I found not only that I had an unusual ability as an elusive runner, but that within a few seasons I had mastered reading and anticipating the game, as well as the all important bounce of the ball. By 30, still hating it, it had buggered up most of my body and I was done with it. I still can't stand it to this day, but at least I have a vague notion of what's involved when watching the 6 nations and world cup on the tv.
... :uhoh:

Riiiight. So... you’re here for the *cough* nuanced political debate, then, if you hate the sport so much..?

Either that or the cock. But I thought we agreed that’s on Tuesdays, no..?
Yeah, mainly the cock tbh.
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Benthos
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

You can call me Bill wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:37 pm
Benthos wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:21 pm
You can call me Bill wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:06 pm I got taken to minis as a scrawny sack of bones, and couldn't stand it. I spent my years at senior school playing any sport to get out of it, including cross country which isn't even a sport. I finally starting playing - ironically out of choice - in my early 20s. I found not only that I had an unusual ability as an elusive runner, but that within a few seasons I had mastered reading and anticipating the game, as well as the all important bounce of the ball. By 30, still hating it, it had buggered up most of my body and I was done with it. I still can't stand it to this day, but at least I have a vague notion of what's involved when watching the 6 nations and world cup on the tv.
... :uhoh:

Riiiight. So... you’re here for the *cough* nuanced political debate, then, if you hate the sport so much..?

Either that or the cock. But I thought we agreed that’s on Tuesdays, no..?
Yeah, mainly the cock tbh.
*looks over shoulder*

zzzzziiiiiiiiiiip

Look properly, man! If you want me to break the Tuesday rule, the least you can do is put some effort into it.

Think ‘Leo Sayer eating a chipolata’ - and for the love of Jesus, whatever you do, do not breathe in, and job’s a good’un.

Hurry up, man! I’m having me chakras jiggled at 5.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Nieghorn »

Small city in Canada, might not expect to have school rugby, but three of the four schools in my town did in the early 90s. But not mine. In about 1997, when I was in Gr 12, our (Am/Can) football coach's son had transferred over from one of them and asked his dad to start a team. He'd last played in the early 70s, so our training was pretty basic! :lol: I was hesitant, knowing it'd be a LOT more running than what I was used to as an offensive lineman, but the coach reminded me: no pads (I found them so constricting), no tight pants, and there'd be a good chance I'd get to run with the ball (fancied myself a William 'The Fridge' Perry type football player :lol: )

I think we won two games in two years. We had some great athletes, though, and with better rugby knowledge, could have been decent. Within the next five years, with two new PE teachers who had modern rugby experience, the lads there would take a few trips to the provincial finals for schools under 1000 kids.

I immediately loved it and joined the local U19 club team straight away, which was full of studs from the best school in our town and another in a town west of us that'd won provincials (so we kicked arse, despite my shitness... but were always tight on props, so I typically played full matches). My first year of uni, I came back to help, and heard the club team was struggling to find a coach, so at 20, started running a U18 team and only Covid presented me with a year that I didn't coach ... though was working with teens until March 2020 and was back doing guest sessions in July.
You can call me Bill
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by You can call me Bill »

Benthos wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:53 pm
You can call me Bill wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:37 pm
Benthos wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:21 pm
You can call me Bill wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:06 pm I got taken to minis as a scrawny sack of bones, and couldn't stand it. I spent my years at senior school playing any sport to get out of it, including cross country which isn't even a sport. I finally starting playing - ironically out of choice - in my early 20s. I found not only that I had an unusual ability as an elusive runner, but that within a few seasons I had mastered reading and anticipating the game, as well as the all important bounce of the ball. By 30, still hating it, it had buggered up most of my body and I was done with it. I still can't stand it to this day, but at least I have a vague notion of what's involved when watching the 6 nations and world cup on the tv.
... :uhoh:

Riiiight. So... you’re here for the *cough* nuanced political debate, then, if you hate the sport so much..?

Either that or the cock. But I thought we agreed that’s on Tuesdays, no..?
Yeah, mainly the cock tbh.
*looks over shoulder*

zzzzziiiiiiiiiiip

Look properly, man! If you want me to break the Tuesday rule, the least you can do is put some effort into it.

Think ‘Leo Sayer eating a chipolata’ - and for the love of Jesus, whatever you do, do not breathe in, and job’s a good’un.

Hurry up, man! I’m having me chakras jiggled at 5.
Rugby's alright. Especially when you're too old to have endure those days any more where it's so f**king cold you're begging that someone knocks on.

There's also some interesting chat on here sometimes.
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Benthos
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

Nieghorn wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:56 pm Small city in Canada, might not expect to have school rugby, but three of the four schools in my town did in the early 90s. But not mine. In about 1997, when I was in Gr 12, our (Am/Can) football coach's son had transferred over from one of them and asked his dad to start a team. He'd last played in the early 70s, so our training was pretty basic! :lol: I was hesitant, knowing it'd be a LOT more running than what I was used to as an offensive lineman, but the coach reminded me: no pads (I found them so constricting), no tight pants, and there'd be a good chance I'd get to run with the ball (fancied myself a William 'The Fridge' Perry type football player :lol: )

I think we won two games in two years. We had some great athletes, though, and with better rugby knowledge, could have been decent. Within the next five years, with two new PE teachers who had modern rugby experience, the lads there would take a few trips to the provincial finals for schools under 1000 kids.

I immediately loved it and joined the local U19 club team straight away, which was full of studs from the best school in our town and another in a town west of us that'd won provincials (so we kicked arse, despite my shitness... but were always tight on props, so I typically played full matches). My first year of uni, I came back to help, and heard the club team was struggling to find a coach, so at 20, started running a U18 team and only Covid presented me with a year that I didn't coach ... though was working with teens until March 2020 and was back doing guest sessions in July.
:thumbup:

When it grabs you, especially after you’ve played (in my case awfully) other sports, it’s great innit?

I found it was a completely different experience to any other sport. Granted, I never played gridiron as a kid.

As a forward the feeling of surviving a little war after every game was something else. I never learnt to (or indeed cared to) ‘play smart’ - I threw myself with utter abandon into every scrum, ruck, maul, lineout so I could barely walk or speak at the end of every game. When I kinda came to I felt delirious to be alive!

And that first pint chugged back - instant buzz - I felt on top of the world!
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by danny_fitz »

Father played for London Irish, so I along with all the other kids were kicking a ball around the back pitch on Saturdays and playing for the minis on Sundays. Folks moved house and I ended up playing with Amersham and Chiltern minis. Played for the school side but kind of dropped rugby at uni as I got quite into my rock climbing and the uni rugby scene seemed overtly full of public school twats. After graduation, I did stints with Old Alyanians and Old Millhillian's before settling with Hammersmith & Fulham where I remained until my 'retirement' at about 37. Probably should have retired a few seasons earlier, but it took me a while to realise that I was playing the game at weekends out of habit, rather than for enjoyment. Then took up rowing.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Grandpa »

Growing up in NZ, rugby pre dates my earliest memories... though I do remember aged five waking up in an ambulance having been hit by a car... that whetted my appetite for more ...
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Benthos
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

Grandpa wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 5:54 pm Growing up in NZ, rugby pre dates my earliest memories... though I do remember aged five waking up in an ambulance having been hit by a car... that whetted my appetite for more ...
:lol: what is it about us mad c@nts that like being hit by cars?

Maybe our folks didn’t run us over in the family Volvo/Holden enough when we were nippers..?
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by backrow »

Discovered rugby at 11 when I went to Grammar sch, took to it straight away despite being a beanpole. Kind of pissed off that my dad never took me to My local club despite having played rugby himself as I could have got into it before 11, and my primary school was a lefty hippy sport free zone with maypole dancing rather than an actual team. Got to Nat 4 standard / Busa league 2

Retired (but didn’t know it at the time) aged 39 for the 2nds of a London 2 side, decent enough standard considering I was by then , utter shite. Meant to have had a couple of vets games about 3 years after, but the oppo cried off each time. Still have the brand new boots & gunshield I got for them !

Miss playing, but don’t miss the hangovers, public nudity / fart lighting , or not being able to walk properly until Thursday.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by backrow »

Oh and benthos, did your German Mrs ever join here in the end ?
Before it got shit & sparsely populated ?
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by sorCrer »

As a laaitie, it was on TV every Saturday afternoon in Winter at 3pm with the all the dad's watching, dopping, braaiing and swearing. There was always a game of touch going on in the backyard with the kids or we'd take the ball to the local school fields or parks for kicking distance. Then as soon as you were 6 at school you started playing barefoot.

High school === girls. :o

Was at co-ed schools most my life and if you played sport (especially in the first team per age group) you pulled. Also, was in boarding school and rugby meant travelling to other schools on Saturdays to play a game (and try and pull girls) on the school bus. If the game was in Durban, my mom would sign me out for the day and I only had to go back Sunday evening.

f**king happy memories of sport, hard fields, sunshine (dry winters on the coast), people clapping, feeling like a hero and smell my finger.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by puku »

My old man played for the local club and coached too. Post match was always spent on the field kicking a ball around or playing pick up games whilst the old man's team were in the club house necking Lion Red and eating pies and kaimoana. Played barefoot, then club and school first XV. Stopped playing when I went to university. Had a long break from the game but took up playing touch rugby in Kent when I moved to England for grad studies. I missed the contact. I got sent off in one touch game for running over a mouthy cünt. When I moved to Warwickshire I found a local team, started at the 4ths and moved to the 2nds team. Played for them for 10 years, giving up at 37 after not really recovering from a badly damaged ankle plus family duties. Fun times.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by fonzeee »

Freshman year of high school, my homeroom was across from the rugby coach's room. The morning of the annual introductory meeting, which is about to be held in his room, he's standing outside; we made eye contact, and I felt it would be impolite to just ignore him and continue on, so I sheepishly enquired if this was the room for the rugby meeting then slowly walked in and took a seat.

La vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by bessantj »

I'm Welsh. My family watched/played it, so did my friends. Played it in school etc...
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by redderneck »

Was tasked with bringing out the halftime oranges as a five year old. Whatever side my Dad was currently manager/selector/committee man for, as his playing days were over; at the club my Grandad was one of the founding members of. Can't say the rugby made much of a lasting impression, but I remember clearly being fascinated by the urgency of the teamtalk.

Not half as fascinated as my Mum was when she told me to clear away my toys from the living room when we got home and I told her to fcuk off for fcuks sake.

Club was in the blood. Then there was school which cemented it. The smell of Deep Heat is the smell of my childhood/youth.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Nieghorn »

Benthos wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 5:09 pm
Nieghorn wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:56 pm Small city in Canada, might not expect to have school rugby, but three of the four schools in my town did in the early 90s. But not mine. In about 1997, when I was in Gr 12, our (Am/Can) football coach's son had transferred over from one of them and asked his dad to start a team. He'd last played in the early 70s, so our training was pretty basic! :lol: I was hesitant, knowing it'd be a LOT more running than what I was used to as an offensive lineman, but the coach reminded me: no pads (I found them so constricting), no tight pants, and there'd be a good chance I'd get to run with the ball (fancied myself a William 'The Fridge' Perry type football player :lol: )

I think we won two games in two years. We had some great athletes, though, and with better rugby knowledge, could have been decent. Within the next five years, with two new PE teachers who had modern rugby experience, the lads there would take a few trips to the provincial finals for schools under 1000 kids.

I immediately loved it and joined the local U19 club team straight away, which was full of studs from the best school in our town and another in a town west of us that'd won provincials (so we kicked arse, despite my shitness... but were always tight on props, so I typically played full matches). My first year of uni, I came back to help, and heard the club team was struggling to find a coach, so at 20, started running a U18 team and only Covid presented me with a year that I didn't coach ... though was working with teens until March 2020 and was back doing guest sessions in July.
:thumbup:

When it grabs you, especially after you’ve played (in my case awfully) other sports, it’s great innit?

I found it was a completely different experience to any other sport. Granted, I never played gridiron as a kid.

As a forward the feeling of surviving a little war after every game was something else. I never learnt to (or indeed cared to) ‘play smart’ - I threw myself with utter abandon into every scrum, ruck, maul, lineout so I could barely walk or speak at the end of every game. When I kinda came to I felt delirious to be alive!

And that first pint chugged back - instant buzz - I felt on top of the world!
Yes, and I think it's a reason why it catches on among rural boys here (not just the rough and tumble, but sometimes football doesn't exist and/or ice hockey is too expensive or just the other time of year). The contact factor is also a BIG draw for the girls that play it as no other sport - not even ice hockey, I think - allows any kind of contact. There are so many stories of girls who played soccer or basketball switching over because refs, coaches, etc. told them they were too aggressive and should give rugby a try. :lol:

On the other side of things, it's great to see the 'bigger' girls find a sport they're actually good at / that has a spot for them. When this comes up, I always think back to a quiet Muslim girl I coached who seemingly just turned up for something to do but ended up impressing us so much with big hits and solid scrummaging that she became a starter. Was a bit self conscious about looking different (wore leggings and long sleeves under her kit) but seemingly dropped that when I found her a scrum cap to wear over her hijab, which seemed to make her feel more 'rugby'. :D

... it's also large part of why I rage against 7s to an extent here as it tends to scare off the chubby kids (or scare them away once they've tried it and discovered they can be a liability). Most places have XVs, but in some developing areas, I urge them to move to 10s as soon as possible or play across the field and from goal to halfway to mitigate the big gaps (little speedsters will still find space in that).
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DragsterDriver
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by DragsterDriver »

When I started getting Wednesday afternoons off school at 14 to play for the 6th form I took it more seriously.
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LandOTurk
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by LandOTurk »

bessantj wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:47 pm I'm Welsh. My family watched/played it, so did my friends. Played it in school etc...
Yes. Its a weird question for me. I'm from Llanelli, what can I say without sounding arrogant about it. Didn't realise footy was bigger until I went to secondary school aged 11.

In the summer of 1977 I was at my school end of year awards for everything - academic, arts, extra-curricular, sport etc. Headmaster calls up the rugby team. And then announces our guest for the evening - a certain Mr Phil Bennett. Gasps and oooohs from the audience. I go up, get introduced, take my medal from the main man and he starts chatting to me. Tells me to tell my Dad (uses his name) he'll see him at the club later. Phil already knew my name before it was announced, apparently. He used to go drinking with my Dad now and then. I was in shock. A few weeks later Phil takes the Lions on tour to NZ as captain.

No school I went to had a footy pitch until early 80s. Actively dissuaded pupils to play 'soccer' as teachers called it, on the grounds.

Dad worked with Gareth Jenkins (future Scarlets coach for two decades), Derek Quinnell and others.

I was sat chatting to Gareth Jenkins in my late teens when in my parents' small front garden, who now as coach, had taken Welsh international Laurence Delaney a renowned reluctant trainer on personal fitness sessions, when he collapsed hanging onto our railings. Mam came out and chatted with them for 10 minutes.

International rugby players past and present frequented our local pub.

I grew up with Colin Stephens Llanelli and Wales fly half.

Etc. etc. etc.

Basically rugby was EVERYWHERE. Rugby found me, not the other way around
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Pole »

Started before I can remember as a laaitie in primary school, playing barefoot looking forward to high school where we were allowed to play in boots..

I need to get back to playing :|
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Thomas
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Thomas »

I played rugby league as a kid but my mum hated it and thought it was too violent which, given I was living in Central QLD, it probably was. We moved to the USA and I played soccer. I wasn't shit at it but didn't have the passion. Then we moved to NZ when I was 12 and I played one year of soccer at primary school before going to high school in Form 3. I told them I played soccer and they said "that's fine, soccer training is Tuesday and Thursday...rugby training is on Wednesday" Given that I was a wussy soccer player I got thrown into this weird forced game every Wednesday with kids that didn't want to play the game. No one knew the rules and it was overseen by English students doing their gap year at the school as junior masters. Imagine 30 skinny kids and Asian and Indian kids who'd never played sport running around the field trying to play a game no one had told them the rules of while fat ruddy faced English lads screamed at them. Given my background in league and my propensity for violence, I naturally excelled. I scored tries left right and centre and was a dominant defender...albeit against kids called Winston Chan who cried when they were passed the ball. I was told to go and join the other boys in the proper team.

I still remember my first game. The feeling of cockiness lasted about 27 seconds before some kid from Whanganui High School cut me in half and then used me as a ladder. I had a lot to learn but I loved it.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Zakar »

My dad took me to an u11s game, instructed me to tackle everything that moved. I'd never even been to a training session before. I played second row and was wearing running shoes.

Loved it, have been hooked ever since.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by kiwigreg369 »

I played rugby when young - bare foot - and it was the natural thing to do when you played bull rush most mornings before school in Hastings.

But then the 1982 football WC came - and I wanted to be an All White, so soccer it was.

I briefly tried to play rugby in my early 20s - didn’t even finish pre-season as did my ACL (I played Sunday football either side of this in the UK).

At 35 I returned to playing for my local London club (my son played minis and I coached) and for my work team - I played over 35s and a few different men’s teams in London.

Moved to Aus and play golden oldies - Covid ruined the last two seasons but I started coaching again this year which I loved. I’ve also now played three seasons of field hockey - which I enjoy but don’t have a great skill for.

At 47 my body can’t really handle the rugby or hockey any more … but I love playing competitive team sports…
Last edited by kiwigreg369 on Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Bindi »

Played at School and University. Boarding school was down the road from Ballymore, so used to go watch matches there, such as the infamous Battle of Ballymore.

Was just as into league, and Lang Park was also a short walk away, so did a lot of underage drinking there. Good times. Loved both games, though didn't play league other than scratch games. Supported Souths in the NSWRL (as I supported Souths in Brisbane), but decided to no longer watch the game when they got booted from the NRL. Only Union ever since. Don't even watch Origin.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Thomas »

Bindi wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:49 pm Played at School and University. Boarding school was down the road from Ballymore, so used to go watch matches there, such as the infamous Battle of Ballymore.

Was just as into league, and Lang Park was also a short walk away, so did a lot of underage drinking there. Good times. Loved both games, though didn't play league other than scratch games. Supported Souths in the NSWRL (as I supported Souths in Brisbane), but decided to no longer watch the game when they got booted from the NRL. Only Union ever since. Don't even watch Origin.
The Battle of Ballymore was the first test match I attended. We'd played Churchie earlier in the day and had scraped through with a win. The test match was brutal.

The BRL was huge in the 80s and I really didn't know anything about the NSWRL apart from Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny. Best and Less in Mackay stocked t-shirts of all the BRL teams and we'd all rock up to school on free dress day in the shirt of their choice. I liked Souths Magpies because of Mal Meninga but I liked the Norths Devils shirt better.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Puma »

Changed school at 6th grade (12 years old), and I had to choose a sport amongst the ones on offer. I chose rugby without ever having seen a match before...

I loved it but was awful at it (and still am).

Two years later I had a classmate's father as coach. I made the mistake of getting into fistcuffs with said classmate on the first week of school. Didn't play a single minute in the whole year... Left the rugby team for the rowing one, which was a cardinal sin at that school.

Years later, at the Naval Academy, I got hooked again. Remembered why I loved playing, plus it meant making your weekend leave certain because you had to play on Saturdays.

Played competitive rugby (awfully) for the following ten years. At that age, a concussion in training sent me to hospital, and I had to choose between carreer and family and sport. I quit playing and started refereeing for fifteen years more.

At the same time, when I turned 35, I was able to start playing Golden Oldies rugby.

I quit both playing and refereeing five years ago, when I turned 50, after surgeries on both my knees and both my ankles. Rugby and the Navy were no longer compatible at that point... nowadays I just go to the club for beers or a barbie with my mates, and on Saturdays to watch my daughter play field hockey, and then the rugby games.
Last edited by Puma on Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

Cheers, lads - always great to hear tales of first love!

Difficult to be ambivalent about our little fetish, eh? “Felt like I was fighting impossible physical odds... and I won. Meh...”

That’s forwards, anyroad!
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Benthos »

LandOTurk wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:01 pm
bessantj wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:47 pm I'm Welsh. My family watched/played it, so did my friends. Played it in school etc...
Yes. Its a weird question for me. I'm from Llanelli, what can I say without sounding arrogant about it. Didn't realise footy was bigger until I went to secondary school aged 11.

In the summer of 1977 I was at my school end of year awards for everything - academic, arts, extra-curricular, sport etc. Headmaster calls up the rugby team. And then announces our guest for the evening - a certain Mr Phil Bennett. Gasps and oooohs from the audience. I go up, get introduced, take my medal from the main man and he starts chatting to me. Tells me to tell my Dad (uses his name) he'll see him at the club later. Phil already knew my name before it was announced, apparently. He used to go drinking with my Dad now and then. I was in shock. A few weeks later Phil takes the Lions on tour to NZ as captain.

No school I went to had a footy pitch until early 80s. Actively dissuaded pupils to play 'soccer' as teachers called it, on the grounds.

Dad worked with Gareth Jenkins (future Scarlets coach for two decades), Derek Quinnell and others.

I was sat chatting to Gareth Jenkins in my late teens when in my parents' small front garden, who now as coach, had taken Welsh international Laurence Delaney a renowned reluctant trainer on personal fitness sessions, when he collapsed hanging onto our railings. Mam came out and chatted with them for 10 minutes.

International rugby players past and present frequented our local pub.

I grew up with Colin Stephens Llanelli and Wales fly half.

Etc. etc. etc.

Basically rugby was EVERYWHERE. Rugby found me, not the other way around
Great post.

Sadly, one could stumble through life in an East Anglian village and provincial English comprehensive in the 1970s & 80s without ever seeing a bloody rugby ball.

I was only dimly aware of the sport during my teens, because when the auld fella called me down to watch the Calcutta Cup / Grand Slam decider on the telly I told him I couldn’t because me & Chris Miller were trying out Adam & The Ants make-up & dancing in my bedroom.

I remember that being the start of a 6/7-yr period of my South Yorks & RAF somewhat ah unreconstructed father muttering about his girlfriend-less son being a ‘pooftah/whoopsie’ who preferred make-up with boys than either rugby or chasing girls.

When I returned from my first disco a few years later excitedly telling him about head-banging to AC/DC & Iron Maiden with my mates, his fears seemed to be confirmed. He went purple...
“tha’ wo dancing wi... oova blooodeh LADS??”

When, finally in 1986 I told him I’d been picked out of nowhere to play for the local village team, and a fortnight later he discovered jonnies in my room his normal colour finally returned and he looked a decade younger.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by UncleFB »

Dad took me and my equally fat neighbour along to play for my cousins team when we were 4 (meant to be 5 to play).

At primary school the next year I got roped into soccer but they made me goalie so I was straight back to rugby the next weekend.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Davedj77 »

This is a really good question. And the funny thing is for me, I'm not quite sure how I got into rugby. My mother has zero interest in sports. My Dad(when he was alive) had so many other interests that sports(apart from sailing) was something he only had a mild interest in. My older brother, I can never remember him being anywhere near as obsessed with sports as I am.
So I think it began with me seeing it on TV in the early 1980s and then I played in maybe my 2nd year of primary school. We got thrashed in every game we played and only "won" one game after the opposition were either a grade or year ahead of us and we won by default(after getting smashed on the field again). I didn't play rugby for a few years after that(I wasn't the biggest kid) but as for watching on TV, I was hooked. The All Blacks soon became like Gods or mythical figures to me and my lifelong obsession began.
As far as playing goes my best year was when I was 11/12 and I played under 45kgs. We won all our games bar one(haunts me to this day).
Haven't played since my early 20s (apart from 30 minutes in a social game in my 30s where I felt like I was running in treacle) and while my passion has lessened over the years, and I follow many other sports closely, there is nothing like watching the ABs put on a masterclass of a performance against good opposition.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Thomas »

Davedj77 wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:16 am This is a really good question. And the funny thing is for me, I'm not quite sure how I got into rugby. My mother has zero interest in sports. My Dad(when he was alive) had so many other interests that sports(apart from sailing) was something he only had a mild interest in. My older brother, I can never remember him being anywhere near as obsessed with sports as I am.
So I think it began with me seeing it on TV in the early 1980s and then I played in maybe my 2nd year of primary school. We got thrashed in every game we played and only "won" one game after the opposition were either a grade or year ahead of us and we won by default(after getting smashed on the field again). I didn't play rugby for a few years after that(I wasn't the biggest kid) but as for watching on TV, I was hooked. The All Blacks soon became like Gods or mythical figures to me and my lifelong obsession began.
As far as playing goes my best year was when I was 11/12 and I played under 45kgs. We won all our games bar one(haunts me to this day).
Haven't played since my early 20s (apart from 30 minutes in a social game in my 30s where I felt like I was running in treacle) and while my passion has lessened over the years, and I follow many other sports closely, there is nothing like watching the ABs put on a masterclass of a performance against good opposition.
I love how you talk about your obsession as a kid watching it. I certainly didn't watch much rugby even when I was playing it in high school and it's something my mates and I talk about. Some kids LIVE for the game and others don't really care. I have two sons that play, both of them infinitely more talented and driven than me. My 14yo has played since he was 6 but has never watched a match on TV from start to finish...until this year. He and his high school team mates all watch it together via discord and the like. He's actually getting into it in a big way purely because his mates watch it. I watched the match on my own on Saturday night while my son screamed away in his room with his mates.

My youngest son is the one with all the talent and drive. It's almost scary at how good he is and I'm not bragging. He's on the spectrum (somewhere) and it took him two seasons to "get" the game but now he's all over it in a weird Rainman kind of way. Kid sees gaps where there aren't any. Still, he can't stand watching the match on TV and wouldn't have seen more than 5 minutes in one stretch. When Quade Cooper was kicking the ball to win against the Boks, he was in the kitchen looking for apples.
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Davedj77 »

Thomas wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:32 am
Davedj77 wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:16 am This is a really good question. And the funny thing is for me, I'm not quite sure how I got into rugby. My mother has zero interest in sports. My Dad(when he was alive) had so many other interests that sports(apart from sailing) was something he only had a mild interest in. My older brother, I can never remember him being anywhere near as obsessed with sports as I am.
So I think it began with me seeing it on TV in the early 1980s and then I played in maybe my 2nd year of primary school. We got thrashed in every game we played and only "won" one game after the opposition were either a grade or year ahead of us and we won by default(after getting smashed on the field again). I didn't play rugby for a few years after that(I wasn't the biggest kid) but as for watching on TV, I was hooked. The All Blacks soon became like Gods or mythical figures to me and my lifelong obsession began.
As far as playing goes my best year was when I was 11/12 and I played under 45kgs. We won all our games bar one(haunts me to this day).
Haven't played since my early 20s (apart from 30 minutes in a social game in my 30s where I felt like I was running in treacle) and while my passion has lessened over the years, and I follow many other sports closely, there is nothing like watching the ABs put on a masterclass of a performance against good opposition.
I love how you talk about your obsession as a kid watching it. I certainly didn't watch much rugby even when I was playing it in high school and it's something my mates and I talk about. Some kids LIVE for the game and others don't really care. I have two sons that play, both of them infinitely more talented and driven than me. My 14yo has played since he was 6 but has never watched a match on TV from start to finish...until this year. He and his high school team mates all watch it together via discord and the like. He's actually getting into it in a big way purely because his mates watch it. I watched the match on my own on Saturday night while my son screamed away in his room with his mates.

My youngest son is the one with all the talent and drive. It's almost scary at how good he is and I'm not bragging. He's on the spectrum (somewhere) and it took him two seasons to "get" the game but now he's all over it in a weird Rainman kind of way. Kid sees gaps where there aren't any. Still, he can't stand watching the match on TV and wouldn't have seen more than 5 minutes in one stretch. When Quade Cooper was kicking the ball to win against the Boks, he was in the kitchen looking for apples.
I wish I had played more as a kid but once I got to highschool they didn't do weight grades and that put me off big time...considering I was literally half the size of the biggest kids in school. I still loved playing touch rugby and (unorganized)league at lunchtime. That's what got me through school really...morning interval touch, lunchtime touch or league, winter or summer. Probably touched a rugby ball almost every day of my life from 5/6 to my 20s.
But boy did I watch rugby (and loads of other sports)...every NPC game on TV, every NRL game on TV. I would have known the names of just about every player in the NPC and NRL for many years. And of course never, ever missed an AB game. I remember waking up early in the morning in the 1980s watching the NH tours...on my own and perfectly happy.
I am a dad to a daughter and I doubt she'll ever play, but you never know...so unlike you I'll probably never be able to live vicariously through my kids in that regard! Oh well, my genetics aren't the greatest for rugby anyway so I doubt any kid of mine would have amounted to anything!
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Thomas »

Davedj77 wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:47 am
Thomas wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:32 am
Davedj77 wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:16 am This is a really good question. And the funny thing is for me, I'm not quite sure how I got into rugby. My mother has zero interest in sports. My Dad(when he was alive) had so many other interests that sports(apart from sailing) was something he only had a mild interest in. My older brother, I can never remember him being anywhere near as obsessed with sports as I am.
So I think it began with me seeing it on TV in the early 1980s and then I played in maybe my 2nd year of primary school. We got thrashed in every game we played and only "won" one game after the opposition were either a grade or year ahead of us and we won by default(after getting smashed on the field again). I didn't play rugby for a few years after that(I wasn't the biggest kid) but as for watching on TV, I was hooked. The All Blacks soon became like Gods or mythical figures to me and my lifelong obsession began.
As far as playing goes my best year was when I was 11/12 and I played under 45kgs. We won all our games bar one(haunts me to this day).
Haven't played since my early 20s (apart from 30 minutes in a social game in my 30s where I felt like I was running in treacle) and while my passion has lessened over the years, and I follow many other sports closely, there is nothing like watching the ABs put on a masterclass of a performance against good opposition.
I love how you talk about your obsession as a kid watching it. I certainly didn't watch much rugby even when I was playing it in high school and it's something my mates and I talk about. Some kids LIVE for the game and others don't really care. I have two sons that play, both of them infinitely more talented and driven than me. My 14yo has played since he was 6 but has never watched a match on TV from start to finish...until this year. He and his high school team mates all watch it together via discord and the like. He's actually getting into it in a big way purely because his mates watch it. I watched the match on my own on Saturday night while my son screamed away in his room with his mates.

My youngest son is the one with all the talent and drive. It's almost scary at how good he is and I'm not bragging. He's on the spectrum (somewhere) and it took him two seasons to "get" the game but now he's all over it in a weird Rainman kind of way. Kid sees gaps where there aren't any. Still, he can't stand watching the match on TV and wouldn't have seen more than 5 minutes in one stretch. When Quade Cooper was kicking the ball to win against the Boks, he was in the kitchen looking for apples.
I wish I had played more as a kid but once I got to highschool they didn't do weight grades and that put me off big time...considering I was literally half the size of the biggest kids in school. I still loved playing touch rugby and (unorganized)league at lunchtime. That's what got me through school really...morning interval touch, lunchtime touch or league, winter or summer. Probably touched a rugby ball almost every day of my life from 5/6 to my 20s.
But boy did I watch rugby (and loads of other sports)...every NPC game on TV, every NRL game on TV. I would have known the names of just about every player in the NPC and NRL for many years. And of course never, ever missed an AB game. I remember waking up early in the morning in the 1980s watching the NH tours...on my own and perfectly happy.
I am a dad to a daughter and I doubt she'll ever play, but you never know...so unlike you I'll probably never be able to live vicariously through my kids in that regard! Oh well, my genetics aren't the greatest for rugby anyway so I doubt any kid of mine would have amounted to anything!
Now that you mention it, my postman is an athletic looking bloke...
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Re: How did you discover this exquisite theatre of balletic violence?

Post by Davedj77 »

Thomas wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 5:47 am
Davedj77 wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:47 am
Thomas wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:32 am
Davedj77 wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:16 am This is a really good question. And the funny thing is for me, I'm not quite sure how I got into rugby. My mother has zero interest in sports. My Dad(when he was alive) had so many other interests that sports(apart from sailing) was something he only had a mild interest in. My older brother, I can never remember him being anywhere near as obsessed with sports as I am.
So I think it began with me seeing it on TV in the early 1980s and then I played in maybe my 2nd year of primary school. We got thrashed in every game we played and only "won" one game after the opposition were either a grade or year ahead of us and we won by default(after getting smashed on the field again). I didn't play rugby for a few years after that(I wasn't the biggest kid) but as for watching on TV, I was hooked. The All Blacks soon became like Gods or mythical figures to me and my lifelong obsession began.
As far as playing goes my best year was when I was 11/12 and I played under 45kgs. We won all our games bar one(haunts me to this day).
Haven't played since my early 20s (apart from 30 minutes in a social game in my 30s where I felt like I was running in treacle) and while my passion has lessened over the years, and I follow many other sports closely, there is nothing like watching the ABs put on a masterclass of a performance against good opposition.
I love how you talk about your obsession as a kid watching it. I certainly didn't watch much rugby even when I was playing it in high school and it's something my mates and I talk about. Some kids LIVE for the game and others don't really care. I have two sons that play, both of them infinitely more talented and driven than me. My 14yo has played since he was 6 but has never watched a match on TV from start to finish...until this year. He and his high school team mates all watch it together via discord and the like. He's actually getting into it in a big way purely because his mates watch it. I watched the match on my own on Saturday night while my son screamed away in his room with his mates.

My youngest son is the one with all the talent and drive. It's almost scary at how good he is and I'm not bragging. He's on the spectrum (somewhere) and it took him two seasons to "get" the game but now he's all over it in a weird Rainman kind of way. Kid sees gaps where there aren't any. Still, he can't stand watching the match on TV and wouldn't have seen more than 5 minutes in one stretch. When Quade Cooper was kicking the ball to win against the Boks, he was in the kitchen looking for apples.
I wish I had played more as a kid but once I got to highschool they didn't do weight grades and that put me off big time...considering I was literally half the size of the biggest kids in school. I still loved playing touch rugby and (unorganized)league at lunchtime. That's what got me through school really...morning interval touch, lunchtime touch or league, winter or summer. Probably touched a rugby ball almost every day of my life from 5/6 to my 20s.
But boy did I watch rugby (and loads of other sports)...every NPC game on TV, every NRL game on TV. I would have known the names of just about every player in the NPC and NRL for many years. And of course never, ever missed an AB game. I remember waking up early in the morning in the 1980s watching the NH tours...on my own and perfectly happy.
I am a dad to a daughter and I doubt she'll ever play, but you never know...so unlike you I'll probably never be able to live vicariously through my kids in that regard! Oh well, my genetics aren't the greatest for rugby anyway so I doubt any kid of mine would have amounted to anything!
Now that you mention it, my postman is an athletic looking bloke...
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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