It has been a tough week, and its those days that get to me, any amputee reading this will understand the frustration of a new socket and this week was double new socket. On the whole I just get on with my situation because what else can you do but it was tough times this week.
Today I had a discussion with someone about my love for Rugby and it got me thinking about how amazing it really it is, now what follows has always been the case but it takes some deep acceptance to talk about it as losing the ability to play Rugby was one of the hardest parts of the last 16 months.
Rugby was (and is in different ways now) a big part of my life. You train, you play, you follow the big guns and it really does become your world. You spend the whole day going to away games, commit yourself to the team and the game. Now its true that you could say this about any sport and in particular team sports but rugby truly has something different about it. Whether its within your own team or club or through the wider community there is that sense of belonging, these people are your family. There is something different about rugby teams, they connect and understand each other.
I have tried many sports since becoming an amputee, and none hit the spot or gave me that rush that rugby did, well lets be realistic, nothing is going to compare to front row rugby! Wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and even wheelchair rugby, all team sports, enjoyable but still not the same. In all team sports your team mates have your back, whether that is disabled or able bodied, however rugby is different. Your team truly does have your back, they are on your shoulder going into the next breakdown, got their heads between your legs in scrums and being your lifeline. Sometimes it was the cheeky smack of the arse from your second row telling you to get lower that got you through the next scrum. You simply do not get that support and closeness with any other sport.
So as I sit here and write this I wonder if I have accepted my sudden retirement from Rugby and to be honest I don’t think I ever will because it wasn’t my choice, I didn’t have a dodgy knee and feel it was time to stop or wind down. My playing time was swept away at only 23. Now I am not saying I will never find my next sport, but for now I am happy to accept that nothing will be as good as Rugby. Whether its the team training and having fun together, the local grass roots team meeting up for a Nando’s or the England Ladies out on coffee club or the game day faces, being part of that rugby team is belonging.