As a mother of two girls I hate to admit that I hadn’t originally assumed that my children’s favourite sport would be rugby. And that’s coming from someone who even played the sport myself at university, albeit as an 18 year old novice.
However my husband and I were keen to let our children try out a range of activities, firmly believing that at primary school age it’s important for them to be given lots of opportunities to explore for themselves what they enjoy before they decide what they might (or might not) want to pursue into their teens.
Between our two girls we have tried toddler football, ballet, karate, drama, swimming, cricket and athletics over the past decade, but it was rugby that really sparked an interest with our youngest daughter. She started training with Harlequins mini rugby at the Under 6 level, at St Mary’s Campus in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, and whilst it took some time for her to grasp the game of tag, she immediately enjoyed taking part in the warm ups, skills and games. The friendliness of the coaches and parent volunteers helped her to settle in more quickly than we expected. Week by week she grew in confidence and the fact that girls were in the minority was never an issue.
However, it has been since she joined the Under 7 group, at St Mary’s Teddington rugby pitches, that her enthusiasm has really grown. She is passionate for the game and taking part in tag festivals has made a huge difference to her confidence and understanding of the sport. What we’ve been most impressed with whilst attending these festivals is the camaraderie, both amongst the children and the parents! It is also lovely to see that she and her fellow female rugby friends have always been treated with respect from the boys, all of whom are happy to pass to one of the girls and know they are as likely to score a try as anyone else in the squad. In fact the only time I’ve ever heard any of them refer to her being different is when one of them suggested to the coach that rather than ‘man of the match’ she should be ‘girl of the match’ because of the number of tries she scored in one tournament!
We’ve loved being part of such an inclusive, friendly club and can’t wait to see how the children flourish when they move up to the Under 9’s.
- Lindsey Chadwick