Rugby World Cup is upon us and this first weekend of matches has been captivating – from the “earth shattered” opening followed by a heart stopping win for England, Japan’s shocking win over the current World cup holders to the emotions as players exude as they sing their national anthem before they represent their country.
It is not surprising that there are many competitions at the moment then with the event taking over our screens, ads and stadiums. Currys are running one at the moment where you share your favourite rugby moment for the chance to win tickets. I thought that I would share mine; though I doubt I will win I thought that my story might interest others and even inspire.
For me I know when I fell in love with the sport – it was 2001 shortly after my dad moved into his first flat after my parents broke up. Before this I would spend Saturdays at horse riding competitions, playing in the garden or up in my room, going for a bike ride with my family or annoying my sister. In 2001 that all changed and I had afternoons filled with walking along the beach, watching F1 for the first time and being introduced to Rugby.
While there were few matches that we got to see over the next few years as I was only ever about for an afternoon every week and he wanted to make the most of it, this time was still something that I held dear. My sister around this time got interested in Rugby but for very different reasons as she oogled over the tight shorts and big muscled men.
When 2003 came around, while my dad no longer lived alone when it came to Saturday it would still just be me and him as we watched the matches that he had recorded. For me this was my favourite moment about the Rugby World Cup – the time I got to giggle and talk to my dad over something that only something we wanted to watch or talk about. Most of the time I was around there at that point I never really got much time alone with him as he wanted to make the most of his Saturdays with his new family so I often ended up what felt like babysitting my cousin while he giggled with Anne. When the World Cup Rugby came around however, it was back to just me and my dad and we after months of hardly a minute to ourselves got to giggle and enjoy some time alone together.
I was 16 at the time and asking so many questions from rules to tactics that my head was buzzing with information and I loved it. Here was an interesting sport that was played by kind, smart yet towering men (especially compared to my 5″2 stature, where unlike football they would try to keep going no matter what, and even appeared to be very friendly to their counterparts afterwards but most of all it was a sport me and my dad could talk about with excitement. I remember him pulling out a table at point and using it was a pitch to help him explain the 22 yard rule before giving up as he couldn’t find suitable things to act as the players or his description of the eruption he’d witnessed after England scored.
F1 can be interesting but it will always lose out to rugby for me; most of all it won’t compare to that feeling of despite how my dad had watched England win surrounded by friends that he still recorded it so we could sit and enjoy it together the next time I saw him. I don’t remember the plays, the outcomes (other than England winning and the now infamous kick) but I still remember the flurry of joy when I realised that he had come to love these moments too and didn’t want me to miss out. The match it self was a blur after that – my parents divorce was a messy one and this was one of those top moments of the whole year even for me.
Rugby for me is still now about those feelings of connecting with my dad, my university friends and now with my BF. I now have more positive experience to do with rugby, such as watching my first live match surrounded by university friends, watching a 6 Nations match with my BF (along with 700 other guys) after he’d done a 10 mile walk for charity where he got to walk and talk along with some of the players from Exeter, or describing when he met the Welsh rugby team in Edinburgh airport and had a man hug from Sam Warberton (he couldn’t stop grinning for a month). Even this week BF had the great joy of seeing the Japanese team in Fo in Brighton ahead of their incredible match against South Africa.
Now as the matches roll on I know I’ll make more memories – though the Japanese last minute win I think will stick in my mind for a very long time – and it will be all because of watching matches back with my day all those years ago.
What is your favourite moment from the Rugby World Cup? Do you have an emotional tie with Rugby? Or with another sport? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below.