Howdy rugby lovers and Rogues fans,
Normally this is the bit where I apologize for taking a while to post (its been what? 4-5 months?), but not this time! What can I say, school and life kept me busy, I’ll apologize for nothing!
The end of the season was full of excitement. For our final game we met Abbotsford RFC on the pitch at Trout Lake. Right before the game began, we had a little pep talk - some of the Rogues shared some emotional stories related to their journey in sports and how they ended up on the team. Waterworks, trust me! Well, I cried at least. I had the chance to share my story. It was so cathartic: I have never felt the same sort of validation, care, and understanding from others in my life.
But the best part is we FINALLY won. I think the score was 52-10 or something…? I honestly don’t remember and frankly I don’t really think it matters. What matters is how the team meshed at the end of a difficult season. Finally, all our work, all the effort, it all sank in, and we were rewarded when it mattered most. I think most of us are still fired up about it. I am.
Another massive benefit of this win is that it makes this summer all the more exciting. We’re getting ready for Bingham and, while we’ve been building to this over the year, our journey officially begins now. Most of us plan to arrive in Ottawa on August 14th, so we’re just under 100 days out. And there’s still so much to do. We’re organizing touch games on Sundays to recruit new Rogues and bring back old friends. We’re fundraising to pay for our trip to make sure ALL of us can attend. We’ve got exhibition games scheduled throughout the summer with some of the teams that we’ve become friends with. It’s Spring, it’s busy, and we’re all pumped.
After a short break, we’re back to practising twice a week. Speaking of which, we’re lucky enough to have official support from the BC Rugby Union! They organized access to the fields at UBC and reached out to two of the best coaches in the country, Doug Tate and John Tait (no relation, I promise you) for support. They’ve generously run a agreed to coach practices and are running us through skills and decision-making drills. These absolutely legendary coaches have set us up with the structure to ensure that the Rogues peak in August!
John coached the Canadian National Women’s Sevens team and won a bronze medal at the most recent Olympics. We managed to pull Doug out of retirement. He has a long, distinguished coaching career as a national Sevens coach. Through his tenure as a coach at UVic, he has produced 75 national players!
It just so happens that Doug coached our club president and head coach, Brennan, many (MANY) years ago at UVic. As Brennan said “It was really quite wonderful to get coached by Doug again. He makes rugby really fun and I’ve tried to bring that playful spirit into the Rogues.” Amazing how it all comes full circle, eh?
Last Thursday was our first session of practice with them and it was great to have Doug and John out to help us. It seems to me that we are entering into the territory of ‘advanced’ knowledge; rather than just focusing on the fundamental skills, we are also learning about the tactics and how to gain ‘tactical instinct’ (my term, dear readers). Their drills were fun and honestly an hour and a half disappeared in one of best and most fulfilling practices of the past couple of months.
Alright, that’s it for now, but we’ll back sooner than you know it!