For most of us reading this, grassroots rugby is a core part of our day-to-day lives. From training a couple of times a week, to running out on a Saturday and helping the juniors on a Sunday morning, some would call it a hobby but for many it’s a lifestyle and they invest a huge amount into the game.
In order for the weekday training to take place or the weekend matches to happen, a team effort is required. It's not just one person who takes responsibility; it’s an entire club effort, and it’s in aspects like this that the true spirit of grassroots rugby is found.
I’ve been my club’s fixtures secretary and also a member of the committee, so I’ve seen first hand how much of a team effort it takes to make sure a club runs smoothly for everyone to enjoy. It’s not an easy job either, it can be life consuming, but that’s why rugby, especially at a grassroots level, is our lives. We live for the game and the pleasure it brings.
The game at the weekend is the culmination of a week’s work to keep the club going and thriving to its full potential. Many people put huge efforts into running rugby clubs, alongside family life and full-time employment, in order to make sure that players have a match, the pitches are cut and marked, there is food and beer for afterwards. These people should be recognised and appreciated.
It’s a family effort too. Mums & Dads, who may never have been interested in rugby before their son or daughter started playing, get involved and become part of the running of the clubs. It’s brilliant to see – the best part is they begin to love the sport.
It was my father who, with my mother, made sure our team was ready to play on a Saturday, as well as being fed and watered. This led to myself becoming a part of the club’s organising committee when I began playing in 2007.
It was our life growing up. Myself and my sister causing havoc on the touchline with the other children of the players, whilst dad played and mum sorted out the post-match food! It’s the same story now; my children will be roaming the touchline while I play on the pitch. It’s a way of life for us and many, many more families. Long may it continue!
These clubs are a huge part of communities throughout the country and we rely on them to be the beating heart of many peoples’ lives. Help them as much as you can, whether it’s assisting on a day to day basis or going down to watch a match on a Saturday afternoon; the grassroots rugby clubs need all the support they can get.
The main reward is feeling part of something special alongside playing the game you love!