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Why I’m making my football mad boys watch this rugby world cup

by Steve O'Meara, Coach, 3Pillars Project.

The alarm goes at 5:30am, I put my trainers on at 5:40am and I get back in time to get the kids up and to school. The brief blast of my morning run is the preparation to face the rush that is getting my two lively boys out of the door, wearing something that resembles a school uniform, and at their school gates by 8:40am every morning.

Why do I even contemplate dragging my two die-hard Spurs boys, half-asleep on a weekend morning, to watch 15 English men charge up and down a rugby pitch somewhere in Japan? Because I want my football obsessed boys to experience what I did. Over 8 weeks of a 3Pillars rugby course, I fell in love with the game, with its approach to life, the people who played it and the skills it gave me to tackle life. It gave me back much of what I get from boxing.

There is a thud as props grind shoulders. I want my wrestling boys to see, hear and feel the physical discipline that rugby gives. To learn how to channel aggression into disciplined team work. Everybody feels aggression, it’s about what you do with it. Rugby, I learnt, is like boxing, a framework not just to express healthy aggression, but a place to grow in a positive community.  The speed and agility of the giants that make up a modern rugby team, are only matched by the phenomenal sportsmanship and ethos that those 80 minutes require. They are strong, authentic role models in a world of instagram filters and increasingly eccentric world leadership. When a referee makes a decision - its final, the same as boxing - you don’t mess with the ref, or you will be thrown out. Proper respect for the rules, makes it a better game. I find the same is true in life. Kids especially need rules and boundaries, when they watch rugby they watch strong, good role models, excel, overcome challenges, and respect others. Most importantly they see men knocked down repeatedly, and repeatedly jump back up and throw themselves back into the fray. I think their resilience is inspiring. 

So, early morning rugby is reigning supreme in our household this Rugby World Cup. My boys and I will be watching the matches, and hopefully soon playing too. I hope that in 4 years time, it's them that will be dragging me to the pub to catch the match. Maybe in another 8 they will be buying the pints! 


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