Thursday, 3 November 2011

Netball - but with fighting

I just found a Facebook page called “I am a woman, I play rugby – deal with it” So I thought I’d join.

You see I’ve just started playing rugby and I absolutely love it.

I’m the wrong side of 35 and haven’t played a team game since I was in school. I’ve always envied – even resented – blokes and their team sports. They can play no matter their age, social status or physical fitness. When we moved to the South West, my Husband joined a five-a-side team to get ‘in with the lads’ in his new work. He then went on to play a bit of cricket too. Before he knew it he had a wide circle of friends, whilst I had one or two.

Girls just don’t have the team sport thing to fall back on. Yet as a general rule – well in the workplace anyway – we are the team players. I just don’t get it.

So why don’t the majority of women play team sport?  What’s putting us off?

Well I know what put me off. Shame, embarrassment, fear of being laughed at and worse still, talked about. I like netball, but I’m just not fit enough. I’m terrible at hockey so that was never going to happen. I LOVE football, but again, too scared that I’d be crap. And who makes friends in the gym?

So at the ripe old age of 36, with two kids under my belt, a job, a mortgage, a husband that needs feeding and an unfinished house, I finally decide to try team sport. And for some unfathomable reason, I chose rugby.

I’m Welsh, so I’m supposed to be obsessed with rugby union. But I’m not. I don’t understand the rules – sorry, ‘laws’ – of the game. I was brought up watching rugby league, so don’t understand the need for line-outs, proper scums and can’t help counting the tackles.

I only went along to Dursley Rugby because the Mum of one of Huw’s nursery friends asked me. I didn’t know her, but always thought she looked like a bit of a laugh, so I went along.

And I bloody love it. Turns out rugby is netball, but with fighting.

It’s one and a half hours of throwing, catching, running, falling over, grabbing, pulling, shouting, laughing, squealing and occasionally *ahem* weeing. We have the most serious coach you can imagine, who doesn’t let us chat, mess-about or laze around. He loves punishing us with press-ups, squats and sit ups, and he’s mean to us in just the right way.

And we all love it.

You see the best thing about rugby, unlike any other sport I can think of, it is completely inclusive. It doesn’t judge you based on fitness, size, age, weight, fashion or nationality. A good rugby team needs a bit of everything. People who can think, can run, can throw, can catch, can kick, can fight, can grab. Anything goes. Find your local club and go along. I promise you, you’ll love it.

I am a woman, I play rugby – deal with it.