I swore I would not let my sons play rugby until they were in Uni, and when they followed their interest in football, I have to say, I was their number 1 supporter. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy watching rugby, and support my side when they play but I don’t want my babies playing it! I know they can injure themselves in any sport, but contact sports like rugby frighten me……cauliflower ears, broken noses, bandaged heads, knocked out teeth, spear tackles, high tackles….just any sort of tackles……
But shortly after DS1 turned 7, he started talking about rugby, showing an interest in rugby, watching the international games on TV…..and then the clincher….’A, C, F and J play rugby. Mummy, when can I start?’ In between asking this question every day, DS1 would spend his afternoons running around in the garden, rubgy ball tucked under his armpit, shimmying here, sidestepping there, pretending to score the winning ‘touchdown’ (yes, we need to work on his knowledge of rugby’s technical terms!) against a phantom team in the World Cup Final. He and DS2 began competing to see who could kick the ball higher (the badminton net being the benchmark) and further….the neighbour’s garden being the goal (as in aim, not as in football goal!).
Having spoken to some mums about rugger, it became clear we may have missed the boat to join a club. The season started in September, so the kids have been training for 2+ months. I tried to explain to DS1 that it might be best to wait until the next season (more in the hope that he might have lost interest by then!), but his disappointed little face said it all; I would be enquiring around Dubai about kids’ rugby teams immediately.
My research showed that the Jebel Ali Dragons tackle from a young age. Mouthguards and headguards are required – ’nuff said. That left the Arabian Knights, Dubai Hurricanes, and the Dubai Exiles. Not knowing anyone in the Arabian Knights, my research was narrowed to the Hurricanes, and the Exiles. Both train at The Sevens’ grounds. The fact that there is a Costa Coffee Shop at The Sevens’ grounds, as well as a tuck shop selling bacon butties, did not in any way factor into my decision, but if it keeps DH happy sitting there for a 1.5 hour training session, how could I not investigate these clubs further???!!!!
DS1 knows a couple of kids who play with the Hurricanes, and only 1 in the Exiles. Not being au fait with the positives and negatives of either team, we left the decision up to DS1. He chose the Hurricanes.
We arrived at The Sevens’ grounds at 8:30am on Friday morning for a training session that was due to start at 9am. The kids rushed onto the full sized pitch to see if they could kick the ball between the posts; the pitch on which, just last week, the kids watched the world’s top 7s’ teams compete. Even I was in awe! While we waited I got talking to a teen who trained the young kids. Talking to him, I was full of admiration of this 16 year old, dragging himself out of bed on his weekend to train a bunch of kids who are too young to follow an instruction, let alone understand the complex rules of rugby! I truly hope my kids will experience this kind of passion one day.
Anyway, back to the stadium. As nice as this teen was, our chat left me questioning DS1’s choice. Apparently, this club didn’t win much. According to him, it was the other team that played at The Sevens’ grounds that always won everything. Of course, it depends on the age groups but it was clear the ‘other team’ was generally more successful.
I motioned to DH for a team conflab. The other team started training at 8:30.We were only 15 minutes late. Initially DS1 wasn’t too keen to join the new team, but we cajoled him with a number of bribes and promises. He ran onto the pitch with gusto, and enjoyed the session. For more, I cannot ask.
Looks like DH will have to get out the foldable chair and his cooler box, slap on the sunblock and report back to Mummy!