Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Savage Game

Garrett has been to Rugby camp at BYU for the last two years.
He has gone to months of practices with the Buchanan rugby club but they haven't had enough players for a team for his age until this year.
So after all of the time, effort and money put into this sport this has been the first season we have been able to watch Garrett play!
Garrett is the most fierce and determined of all of my kids.  He is always either all in or all out of anything he decides to do. He has always been scrappy, getting in and mixing things up regardless of the size of his competitors.  It is no different with Rugby.
 I've watched as he has cut out soda and candy from his diet for years at a time just because he thought it might help him be stronger. There is NEVER a lapse in this. He has put on about 25 lbs in muscle in the last year and very rarely misses a day of lifting at the gym
 He is solid muscle and so strong.  When he is out on the field with these other rugby players he looks so small, but this is by far his favorite of all the sports and activities he does.  
I thought it was rough watching wrestling but this game is brutal. I've seen countless kids leave the game with major injuries this season.  
I've listened to the thuds of huge bodies crashing into each other.  After every game there are new bruises, crunched fingers, and countess scrapes and scratches all over his body.  
There is regularly a limp or hobble from sore muscles or a twisted joint. 
Still he readily goes back each week for more.  
Determined and strong with a love of the game burned even deeper into his bones.  It is a savage game.
As rough as this game is on my boy's body and as hard as it is to watch, I have gained a certain respect for this game and am more than a little in awe. 
The players of this game, regardless of which team they play for are part of a brotherhood.
 There is a camaraderie between players of all ages sizes teams and nationalities unlike any of the other sports I've seen.  
When a player is hurt at a game more than half of the team will end up together at his house to check in on him.  
They look out for each other and have each others backs. This game is truly a team sport.
 There is no player more important than another.  Everyone tackles, everyone blocks, everyone catches, everyone throws and everyone carries the ball.  (They have different names because its rugby, but I haven't even learned them all yet)
I think because of the way they all work together and play so rough on the field they learn to depend on one another in a way that builds trust and strengthens relationships.
 At the end of every game each team does the traditional cheer for the other team. They line up with their team mates and then shake hands with the member of the other team as regularly done by countless other sports.
 But then they take it a step further. Both teams form a single line facing the audience.  They mix teams together standing shoulder to shoulder often with a member of the opposing team next to them and they put their arm around the players backs on either side.
Then somone shouts out for the referees "hip! hip!" the boys answered back "hooray!" Then a cheer for the coaches, and a cheer for the audience.
After the three hip, hip hooray's! The players then, all still with an arm around the player on either side, take a deep bow and the audience goes wild. 
Which ever team was the home team then provides a full blown meal for the other team and the players from both teams eat and talk together.
It's one of the coolest things I've seen at a sporting event.  They are not encouraged to hate the other teams but to build a brotherhood based on their love of this savage game.
A mother of one of the players on our team had shirts and sweatshirts made for the parents and boys to wear to the games.
 My mom and I both bought a t shirt to wear to show our support.
 Garrett got a sweatshirt, and I realized when I saw them why I had grown such a respect for this crazy brutal game.  
The back of the shirts say "A savage game, played by gentlemen"
And that's what it boils down to. Play as rough as you want in this brutal game. Leave nothing out there but your best, your whole heart if you will, but when it's all said and done, remember it's just a game and behave like gentlemen.

Savage as it may be, I can respect a game that requires that.

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