So your dad played rugby?
No, I chose rugby for me (among 3 other sports – cricket, V8s and Formula 1 also make the list).
What’s your club?
Sunnybank – I have been a supporter for more than 20 years. I remember standing in a crowd of excited 7 and 8 year olds when John Eales returned from a shoulder reconstruction for Brothers in a match against ‘bank in the late 90s. I remember quite intensely standing at Ballymore in 2005 when we won the Prems final against the Gold Coast Breakers. I remember watching players like AWH take the field week after week, in awe of his go forward.
So your partner plays for Sunnybank?
No, it is my local club and I love it.
I am fascinated that my love of rugby is constantly being defined (or attempted) to be defined by the males (imaginary) in my life.
I understand that my intense passion for this sport does perhaps fall into the category of unusual.
I also understand that as humans we assimilate information by hanging it on a ‘hook’ – a hook that looks for association, for a sounds-like or looks-like.
It means we want to understand things through the lenses we already have, we already access.
And my liking rugby as a woman because I chose it, unfettered by a history of family and partner association, isn’t a hook that most people have.
It would be great if conversations didn’t take the same well worn path of trying to associate and understand my interests and passions through a male.
I also don’t choose rugby because of the men who play it, or their physiques (wink, wink) as I am often charged with.
I love the strategy of 23 v 23, of having to change the game plan depending on your team, and theirs. The notion that you can’t settle, that you have to plan intensely for what is in front of you and work the plan. Then demonstrate enough flexibility to react to what is in front of you and continue working to the bigger picture.
I admire the incredible amount of work and discipline it takes to pick and go, pick and go, edging ever closer to the tryline.
I am wowed by the speed of a back (or a flanker seagulling on the wing!) when they put their foot down along the sideline.
I love the community of local rugby, particularly a club like Sunnybank that doesn’t have more than a century of history, that welcomes all comers and doesn’t think a scandal is when the son of an old boy plays for a rival club.
I choose rugby (and it is much easier at club level to chose rugby than it is currently at our dire national level of disarray) because I can take it seriously and also have a laugh. Often at my expense.
I chose rugby often in spite of the excruciating pain that comes from the vacuum called the ARU.
I choose rugby because local clubs more and more are embracing diversity – the diversity that comes through Gingercloud’s Modified Rugby Program (MRP) and the diversity that comes through women’s rugby. The diversity that doesn’t look at your rugby pedigree but rather how you play and who you are as a human.
I choose rugby not because of the men in my life, but who I am as a person and the exhilarating, frustrating, community-building, life-affirming, laugh-inducing, proud-making, vocal-spectating experiences I have while watching it alongside people who love it too.