Monday, 18 May 2009

Rugby 2009

Being Australian we do enjoy a lot of sports and, having left the country, we often go to some lengths to ensure our children receive a good sporting education. This usually involves grabbing relevant sporting events -- Tri Nations, Super 14, State of Origin, AFL Grand Final -- from the internet since they don't receive a whole lot of coverage here. While the education is a whole family affair, the boys, in particular, also enjoy playing. So we felt relatively fortunate to have found a rugby club within half an hour of our place.

The club itself has only been going a couple of seasons, this season fielding both U16 and U19 sides for the first time. Rugby has an odd reputation here in the US, at least here in southern California. It is generally viewed as a brutal game without rules. Generally, American football high school coaches don't want their players playing it for fear of injury. So consequently, the first practice of the season -- which runs January to April -- was bit light on with only six boys. I chatted with the coach, who had supplied a couple of the boys, and appreciated that he was working hard to develop a club with a traditional rugby team culture. I was a little concerned before hand that even rugby might have been infected by the American competitive hype and drive in sports. There were a couple of teams that we played who seemed to have bought into that but, by and large, it was usually sane.

Elijah has always been the most keen to play but Joshua -- who revels in being a bit different from many of the other teenagers in some ways -- also joined in, preferring fly-half to Elijah's wing, centre or fullback. Unfortunately with only a U16 side available the boys were punching above their weight most of the season. The good news is that by the end of the season the club was sporting a roster of over fifty. Our boys did their part in spreading the word with a total of five friends training and playing for the season and a few more who came along to check it out. Too much running for some of those however. The ones who did stick it out loved virtually every minute of it, even when the team didn't perform so well. The fact that rugby allows most of the players to be involved most of the time (well, except for those glory wingers) makes it a fun game to play. I'm hoping they'll get involved again next season too. They'll only enjoy it more with a season under their belts. Oh and Elijah and Josh managed a try each during the season. :D

I also got involved in the administrative side of things. There were three coaches for the club and one of them was handling all the paperwork so it was the least I could do. Having never really played myself, I don't feel qualified to coach but administration I can usually do without too much trouble. We ended up with some great parents contributing to the club and we will only have a better season next year. I can't wait. In the meantime, we'll just have to get by barracking for the Reds and the Wallabies.

Joshua looks for the ball.

Elijah with the ball in hand.

One of the boys' friends (back left) who took up rugby after hearing the boys rave on about it.

More photos of the team.