These day’s many friends, family and acquaintances describe me as a ‘Rugby Man’ or a ‘Rugby Fanatic’. This hasn’t always been the case. For many years as a young lad I was somewhat football obsessed, as an avid fan of Manchester United I lived and breathed football. I researched everything related to the Red Devils and watched everything i could football related. I had no time for other sports they simply did not compare in my young naive mind.
I originally started reading about rugby for what seems a very silly reason looking back, my brother and my dad had no time for football, branding it ‘a game for pansies’ and other such stereotypical statements. They had played rugby at school and my brother even had a trial for Devon as a teenager. My desire to fit in with them and be able to talk and relate with them spurred me on to learn the rules and build a comprehensive knowledge of statistics and players. Once i knew bit I sat down to try to watch a game. A pay per view game on ‘Eurobell’ between Northampton Saints and Gloucester at Kingsholm.
I don’t recall the score but I remember that Northampton won and I remember feeling a great sense of excitement every time one particular player got the ball. One Carlos Spencer just oozed class and skill, the opposite of what i had been led to believe rugby was about. The way he combined with Bruce Reihana lit a fire in my belly and I needed to try playing the game.
Once again my reasons for wanting to play were largely driven by my eagerness to join in with my father and brother regaling them with my stories about rugby. Yes the inspiration of the All Blacks in the Northampton team was a factor but the need to be accepted by my family was still the driving force behind me. I eventually did play for a team based in Exeter called Wessex Wyverns. I made a handful of appearances and the sense of unity gained by playing for a rugby team was drastically different to that felt when i was playing football.
Playing the game only enhanced my love for rugby, by the time i suffered an injury which kept me off the pitch for almost a year my passion for rugby and knowledge of the sport had far surpassed that of my Brother and Father. I had a thirst for knowledge of rugby which still hasn’t been quenched.
There are many people out there that don’t give rugby the time of day, many I have spoken to cite a lack of understanding as their reasons for not watching it, others simply don’t get how it can be exciting. I chose to write this article to try to inspire others to take a closer look at the sport and open their eyes to an engaging, exciting and explosive sport. My reasons behind delving into the sport may have been flawed but the game drew me in. watching rugby live can be spine tingling and very affordable as an Aviva Premiership game can cost around 20-25 pound, incredible when you consider Barclays premier league games are around the 60 pound mark. So as a converted rugby fan I am urging you to take a trip to your local pub, local club, local stadium or nearest park and just watch a game, you may be pleasantly surprised.