Rugby players can be a little obsessed when it comes to defending their game.
They just are.
Some of them – the most dedicated of the bunch – eat, sleep and breathe it.
They plan trips abroad around rugby, making acquaintances with like-minded individuals in foreign lands and sampling the local culture, as sophisticates are apt to do: a few years ago, a team from Great Britain – I can’t remember which country, but it was one of the ones where they talk funny – was in Pictou County to play the local men’s team, and one guy was asked if they had found any beer they liked in Canada, and he goes, “Yeah. All of it.”
So, as you can see, it’s not just the game itself – the social aspects of rugby are important, too.
After several days of uncertainty, with bureaucrats and politicians passing the blame back and forth, May 7 was a banner day for high school rugby players (no cause for alarm – high schoolers don’t drink beer).
They’d thought their season might be over thanks in great part to some shenanigans from the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation, who cancelled the rugby season on May 3, citing safety and insurance concerns.
For a while there, it didn’t look good for high school rugby, and not just for this year, but future years, too. As long-time Pictou County rugger Drew Graham said when the firestorm erupted, “once it goes, it’s hard to get back.”
Finally, on May 7, the NSSAF and provincial Department of Education put out a media release, assuring everyone that rugby was a go, and that players could get back to knocking heads and snapping bones (just kidding, they didn’t word it quite that way).
They weren’t there to drop off home-made cookies for the spring fling.
Parents don’t like being left in the dark, especially when it comes to things their kids deeply care about. They want answers. Not next week, but now.
A source told The News that when about 20 parents (almost all of them moms) and some rugby players crowded into North Nova before classes started Tuesday morning wanting answers from the school administrators, “it didn’t get nasty, but there were some raised voices. We all went in as a group to ask questions. We were getting no communication from the school.”
THINGS ARE ROUGH OUT THERE
More than once I have stood on the sidelines, watching a rugby game and thinking, ‘this is not a game for the meek.’
It’s a tough, physical sport and people will get hurt. Sometimes, badly.
Not everyone wants to live in a plastic bubble, though: they’ll roll the dice and take their chances, just as we do when we get behind the wheel of a car, or climb a ladder without a safety line.
I don’t have the data to back this up, but the eyeball test tells me rugby is less violent than football, a sport that sees the players well-protected with pads and hard, plastic helmets, giving them a certain sense of invulnerability, allowing them to fly around, smashing into one another at high speeds.
In rugby, if you do that, you won’t be on the field very long.
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Non-Sports Thoughts of the Week:
• A diverse hiring committee chose Dan Kinsella to be the new chief of police for Halifax Regional Municipality, and yet the decision is getting bashed from some corners, because he’s a middle-aged white man, you see, and white men are easy targets these days.
It sounds like Kinsella comes to the job with superb qualifications, and I would welcome him to Nova Scotia once he starts in July.
Someone has to.
Kevin Adshade is a writer with The News. His column appears each week.