Return To Normality ……….Kinda

Its been over one year and a month since I was able to watch grassroots rugby at my local club.   Filled with excitement and to be honest a little nervous, don’t know if that was with Covid or wanting my local team to beat their neighbouring rivals, I was finally able to watch a real rugby game.

Covid has been ruining people’s life’s for over a year now and is still having a major impact on everyday life. One of the things it had taken away from us is sport, no sport being played, gym and leisure centres shut. It had taken away people’s release from their busy life to forget about their troubles and spend time with their friends or team mates they see as family. However there is light at the end of the tunnel.  his week, the first time I got to watch a real life game of grassroots rugby, something that seems like a life time of wait. Yes professional sports has already started and if you have the right channel you can watch them, if not then we still had to wait till this weekend and there is nothing like watching your local grass roots play.

The whole system might of change, signing or scanner the NHS code to enter the clubs outdoor space.  The outdoor area setup so you have to sit at a table and be served your drinks as there is not suppose to have supporters the ‘normal’ way, stood down the side of the pitch wondering around. However having a drink, sat down,  outside my local rugby club, whilst a match is being played, definitely has no complaints from me! Yes there will be some supporters that think they know best and not understand that once the tables are full you can’t come in or that some tables might not have the best view of a game, but isn’t that worth the sacrifice to get some sort of normality back?

Luckily, I got there nice and early, getting a seat in perfect position to watch the full pitch. I sat with a few beers, watching the club start filling up with supporters, more than the usual crowd but let’s face it, it felt like one more step back to normality. The wait had been too long to see the game begin.

Finally the game started, watching two local rival teams go head to head, big tackles going in and watching some great runs from the wingers. Sitting next to me was one of my old team rivals players who made a 30 min drive, just to enjoy a local game of rugby. Speaking to him, he had actually has been around a number of , just to be able to watch and enjoy the sport that he loved.  It was at this point it dawned on me, today was not just about two teams playing rugby but the rugby family being allowed back as one and supporting each other through a game we all love. Looking around the area, away from the game, it was amazing to see so many familiar face. It was great to see old players, players from other clubs and the future generation of players, sitting in their groups of six, catching up with everyone and not just supporting the two teams playing, but rugby itself.

Covid might have changed life  as we know it and the laws of rugby right now, however it could never and will never stop the Core Values of Rugby – TREDS – teamwork,  respect ,  enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship,  seeing the two teams after the match clap each other of the pitch and then return for a minute silence for a player we lost during lockdown,  proves that the foundation that rugby is built on is strong and not even a year away from the game can ever change that.

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