“Walking the line”
After experiencing home matches against schools from different areas, it has become apparent that parents need to be reminded of what this wonderful game is all about and the role that they must or mustn’t play as spectators.
Our referees volunteer their time on Saturday mornings and do this thankless task for the love of the game. We are most grateful to these gentlemen who give their Saturday mornings to ref our games. What makes these gentlemen even more special is that they sometimes get shouted at by over-zealous parents and volunteer to referee the following week. These men are limited in supply and we need to look after them.
You see it every Saturday at schools and clubs and even at some provincial venues, supporters traipsing up and down the touchline passionately following play and “living the game” themselves. These folk shout and scream at their players, opposition players and the of course referees. Why do they do it and what do they hope to achieve?
Why can’t parents just let the boy’s play? There is so much good about schoolboy rugby in this country – the sheer number of players taking the field and games taking place each weekend. The history, the derbies and the rivalries are unmatched in world rugby. Where else in the world do you have 20-odd teams from one school traveling across the country to play on an almost weekly basis?
There is unfortunately also so much wrong with schoolboy or amateur rugby and to a large extent it is epitomised by the “Walk the Line” types. Schoolboy rugby should be kept “pure” and the brand of rugby should be open and expansive.
Too often nowadays we see physiotherapists, dieticians and even biokineticists running onto the field of play, while sponsors and parents are meddling off the field. Matches should be devoid of bickering parents and most especially violence. Referees also bear the brunt of much criticism and although they perennially make the blood boil, take a step back and realise that without the ref there would be no game. He didn’t write the laws that even paid professionals cannot make head or tail of. All he is trying to do is enjoy himself and he normally receives no more than a cooldrink for his efforts.
Rugby is a unique team sport in that it has a place for everyone from the plump prop in the front-row to the speedsters out wide. It brings together boys from different backgrounds to play for a collective goal. Lets enjoy the game for what it is – just a game and relish in the fact that our kids have the opportunity to go out every weekend and have fun!
We encourage our parents to continue supporting in a good manner and realise that sometimes referees make mistakes or interpret the laws slightly differently, especially the tackle law or that they are right and you are wrong. Do you know all 22 laws of the game which are covered in 120 pages of the Law Book and the frequent amendments?
We hope to see you all out on Saturday mornings supporting your boys in the true spirit of the game, as we have come to expect of our parents and those of our Southern Suburb rivals.
written by Graeme Wepener