What Took Me So Long?

30 04 2009

run-low

As I said in yesterday’s post, I have some rugby things to get out of my head. So let’s see what happens, shall we? It might be long, so bear with me.

I started playing rugby in 1994. I was 19. We didn’t have a coach – we coached ourselves. If I knew even half of what I know back then? WOW. By the end of that school year, I was voted a captain. I had NO idea what I was doing. I don’t even remember doing the things on & off the field that my captains do now.

I learned what I knew back then by watching the men’s games and walking the sideline with their coach. Walking the sideline during a game is how I’ve learned a lot about rugby. I still do that now – even if I don’t run touch, it’s impossible for me to stay in one place for long during a game. But walking the sideline or running touch is one of my favorite things about rugby.

I did take a break from rugby starting in my 5th year at OU – because classes conflicted with practice times. I wanted to play after I came back to Pittsburgh, but I couldn’t make practices at the time. I finally gave in and came back to the game in 2002. It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. (Yes Dilbert and ME had something to do with it…)

When I started playing in ’94 I was a wing. When I came back in 2002, I was still a wing, but now also a full back, and sometimes an outside center. Since then? I’ve now played every single position EXCEPT #8 (it was except #8 and second row, but I’ve now played a more than 1 game at second row!! Yay!) in some type of match – 7s, 10s, 15s tournaments, competitive matches & friendly ones. I still remember my first match at Flanker when I moved from the backs to the forwards*.

* If you are a back and you read this – you have no freaking clue how much running those forwards do. Holy crap… Neither did I until I moved up there. Wow. Run. Ruck… look up – the ball is now 20-30 yards ahead, but on the other side of the field. Run. Ruck… look up – the ball is now in the middle of the field 50 yards back. Wow. *

kickoff

I pride myself on being someone my coach & captains can rely on if they are short in a position. It’s how I ended up playing my first game at second row… and flanker, for that matter. I may not be the best choice at most of those positions, (hooker? my line out throws SUCK and my legs might be too long to hook. But i’ll do it!!)  but I’m able to manage enough in most of them to make it a positive thing… I love that & it’s why I got a jersey with a “?” on the back of it. I’m not tied to any certain position or number.

So what’s bothering me? The fact that after all these years of playing & watching rugby, I’m just NOW finally getting the game when I play and feeling like I contribute and make a difference… For so many years, I swear I’ve played and not had half a clue what I was doing. I’m not even sure right now how I actually played knowing that little.

I had a little meeting with the coach and a captain the other night, and they reinforced what I’ve been thinking – I’m doing well right now.  They said that I’m doing what they want for the most part – also known as working my ass off. Our captain even said my endurance seems to be the best it’s ever been. (Which is amazing, since I’ve been a couch potato or sewing since November). My coach said he’s noticed the change in how I see things – usually if I’m running touch for our games, he’s right there near me…. In the end, I was given some things to work on – including being more vocal on the field – and I swear I’m going to try to do that. And I think some people who read this will remind and encourage me to do that.

While talking to the coach & captain, I tried to figure out how & why I am different now. I said that giving up some jobs & leaving My Living Room may contribute to it. It was said that working at My Living Room was “eating my soul.” I can’t disagree with that. At. All.

But it’s just not that. Really. I KNOW there is more to it. But I can’t get to the bottom of it…. All I know is that the sport I LOOOOOVE? It’s fun again. At both practice (yes, I did just say that, thankyouverymuch) and in games. And those games? I get it… And for the first time EVER I have scored a try in EACH game I’ve played in so far. Three total. I’ve never scored three tries in a season total. EVER. And my favorite thing about that? Each try was preceeded by a scrum. And before each scrum down, I’ve said “Ladies, I want a try.” And obviously things worked out – because it happened. Amazing!!!

The coach even told me he’s seen me smile more this season overall than he ever has before and I know it’s true… Many people told me on my last night at My Living Room that they hoped they’d see me smile more. I really loved that they told me that, it helped me sort of be okay with the entire issue, but it’s really come true. I’m so happy right now. I’m loving all things rugby right now and I don’t even think I felt this way back in 2002 when I came back! I’m even going to do CrossFit once per week this summer. I can’t do twice per week because I want to go to “touch” practice, and I need to sew once or four times per week. lol.

Overall, I am amazed at the changes in myself that have happened recently. They are definitely ALL positive – not only rugby-wise… but most likely related to rugby. Somehow rugby has enabled me to lose some weight (along with random illnesses), which allows me to wear clothes I wore, oh, two years ago or more.. I think that leaving My Living Room has NOT been a bad thing – come on, I’m SMILING more often than not – at least emotionally and socially. Financially? It sucks. Bad. But I’m sewing whatever you want me to sew and making a little bit of money for it. So it will be okay in the end.

Thanks for dealing w/ the rambling. Here’s a great pic of me in game #1 of this season (ie. first game I played in and scored a try this season! Yay!)

claire3

Photo courtesty of one of my most favorite people ever, Uncle Crappy. Thanks!!!

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One response

6 05 2009
PghRugbyRef

Isn’t it great when you can finally feel the game? When you can anticipate where to be when?

It happened towards the end of my playing career. (I hope it is only the middle of yours!)

I hope I can spread that knowledge to others via coaching and reffing…

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