The Loosehead is a new regular column on LineoutCoach which allows guest bloggers to look at rugby related matters. Sometimes fun, sometimes serious, these are topics to make you think written by those who love the game. To begin The Loosehead looks at rugby as a catalyst for giving back.
When Gav spoke of the back to back games his Dartmouth team faced in the D1AA he highlighted the physical challenge that rugby poses. A non-stop contact sport with 80 minutes of action and no time to catch your breath – that’s why we love to play or follow the game it isn’t it?
The thought of doing that twice in the space of 24 hours would make most players pause but how about playing non-stop for 24 hours? No, really.
24 Hour Party
Its sounds crazy (frankly it is) but that is the idea that has grown to become a world record attempt which will take place later this month at the home of the Leicester Tigers.
On the 31st of May at the Welford Road ground, 44 men will take to the field at 11am and start a game which will end the next day. It will be full-contact, continuous play and with only 5 minutes to rest per hour it will be a true test of stamina.
I know what you are thinking…why?
Well it’s certainly not for personal gain. Or bragging rights. As is often the motivation for such acts of madness, its in aid of a good cause.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity which raises funds for families of the fallen, providing help for those who have lost a loved one in the British armed forces. It’s unsurprising then that the military are fielding one of the two teams taking part in the record attempt. They will face the Scotty’s Team which doesn’t exactly look like desk jockeys so this looks to be a pretty even physical contest.
Paying it Forward
Time and time again, rugby and those who love it give back to others in need. The Matt Hampson Foundation, Wooden Spoon and Rugby for Heroes are just some of the good causes supported by the ‘rugby family’, the collective name for those who love the sport.
Those involved in the sport in the US have done a lot recently to show the depth of compassion in their ranks as was demonstrated by the clubs and individuals who responded to the tragedy which claimed the lives of four young players from the same family returning from the USA Sevens back in February.
Rugby is not unique in its generosity but much is spoken about the ‘rugby family’ and the bonds that are forged on the field with team mates and opponents. That family extends beyond the boundaries of the field and its impact can be felt by all. There are those who use the sport to raise funds as will hopefully be the case with the Scotty’s Little Soldiers Record attempt but there are also those who use the values of the game to make a difference.
The work of the Play Rugby USA Charity shows how rugby can help to develop individuals both physically and in terms of building character and confidence. By building teams and showing what can be done by working together it also hopes to reconnect communities. Worthy ideas that are getting results.
If you have caught any of the School of Hard Knocks TV Shows you couldn’t fail to see how rugby made men from the boys who had lost their way and worse still their hope. Former professional players Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell, both of whom had their challenges to overcome in life away from sport, use rugby as a way to engage and motivate those who many would say are lost causes. (No apologies for the language, it’s raw but passionate.)
Trying to Help
They say there is a rugby position for everyone and mine is sitting in the stands but I still count myself a part of a very special sport.
So when you come off the rugby pitch this week, and you feel the aches and pains that inevitably follow, just think on those brave 44 who will take the field in a few weeks to play not one game, not two, but the equivalent of 18 consecutive games.
They are giving back – can you? Help spread the word of this incredible event via Twitter (@ScottysRugby) or Facebook. Donate if you can by sponsoring a player here http://www.scottysworldrecordfundraiser.co.uk/ or why not buy a ticket and pop along to cheer them on in person.
Together we are stronger.
Do you have a topic you’d like us to cover or a blog you’d like to submit? Contact LineoutCoach