Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Rugby

So... another Sunday, another day of Rugby at our local Finchley RFC (Rugby Football Club). I have to say, the Rugby group here are amazingly well organized and set up.  Like at home in Victoria, it is primarily volunteer run, but on a scale of magnitude that is quite something!  I can't get over how many kids are playing, and how many coaches and volunteers are deployed to make the events run like clockwork.

Covered stands!
Of course, there is great infrastructure too (and you can see more photos of the fields on Rabbler's 'Grounds for Concern blog here.)  There are upper and lower fields, and they are just packed with kids and teams playing.  The upper field has covered stands (which is going to make me a happy rugby mom come the rainy season), and the lower fields are big enough to accommodate at least 6 or 7 teams practicing at the same time.

The Clubhouse

Best of all, there is a clubhouse!  or... as steve would say, "a licenced clubhouse!"  The set up is lovely.  There is a kitchen there, and  people working it, so kids can get cheap hot food after the meal (or even free food if there has been a game with kids coming from away), and hang out in the clubhouse with friends and family, watching soccer or rugby on the big screen, or sitting around playing/talking. And, it is dog friendly.  Not only do people bring their dogs to the fields, but the dogs are allowed in the clubhouse.  All in all, the perfect setup to ensure a pleasant couple of hours as a family!

Steve had Alex signed up to play long before we arrived in London (and indeed, chose our location in part based on proximity to the rugby fields), but Duncan somehow managed to weasel his way out of playing (he did not want to get tackled, a feeling I can relate to).  Well... after several weeks of us watching the younger kids play, we finally put our foot (cleats?) down, and, over his most strenuous protests, signed Duncan up for the under 11 rugby group.  So... sundays now involve the entire family hanging out at the Rugby Grounds.

Despite Duncan's initial reluctance, i can now say that the sunday rugby hours are very pleasant ones.   Duncan played on one field, and Alex on another, so Steve and I just kept swapping places, so we could take turns watching both kids practice/play.  I could feel myself smiling througout... as Arta pointed out to me, the team colours are a bit reminiscent of Where's Waldo!  Still... it is really cute! (oops... i mean, "it is really manly!") 
passing exercises

 Duncan is still learning the rules of the game, as am I.  I am still not sure what 'rucking' is, nor what 'straight hands' or 'popping the ball' mean.  Nonetheless, it was a riot watching one exercise where the boys are having to run across a centre area to pass off the ball to someone on the opposite side, while NOT bumping into any of the other players crossing the centre from opposite directions.  A riot!   I must find me a rugby dictionary.  Still, it was a successful second week for Duncan.  Steve and Duncan were still there 2 hours after Duncan's practice ended, Steve watching games on the big screen with the other men, while the 10 year old boys were curled up in another corner drinking pop and playing pokemon... who could ask for anything more?. 
postgame stretch

Alex, on the other hand, came home right after the game.  He was complaining last night that his stomach felt terrible, but he still got up this morning to go play the game.  As far as I can tell, he has a major case of food poisoning.  He did make it home before throwing up.  He is now sleeping on the couch, but i don't think he will be moving much for the next day or so.  He didn't think he played his best game ever, but, ... frankly... given that he was working not to vomit during the whole game, he was awesome!  :-)  Talk about commitment to the game!

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