NEW YORK, NY – For those that may not know, a good percentage of our Staff has been involved/playing contact sports (ice hockey, rugby, beer pong bar fights) for years… and some still do – and love it. But yesterday, Junoir Blaber sent the staff of our Rugby Wrap Up partners a link to an article that got us all thinking, questioning and pontificating and no, it wasn’t “Would you move to Cheektowaga for a million bucks?” It wasn’t as unsettling. Instead, it was – and we’re paraphrasing, “Should kids play contact sports?”
Here is the article. It is specifically targeting rugby played by school kids in Britain and the author is a Rugby Mom, , staunchly opposed to the idea. At first glance, we were ready to pounce on her like a decent Defensive Coordinator pounces on the chance to face a Mark Sanchez-led offense. But we exhaled, and after actually reading her unapologetically slanted piece and the comments that were decidedly against her, a funny thing happened on our way to the forum: we saw both sides!
What the frog, right?!
Here’s the thing we didn’t fully grasp prior to reading her argument: rugby is compulsory in many schools. For those of you like JG Clancy and Sam’s-A-Fan that didn’t go to SUNY Buffalo and therefore don’t know what that means, it means that means your little one MUST play full contact rugby.
With this factoid, here is what we posted in the comment section:
As American sports nuts that cover sports for a living with our partners at Rugby Wrap Up, while also playing rugby for 30 years, we can see both sides of this. We don’t force kids to play a contact sport in school here in The States, yet have no shortage of kids playing sports like American football and ice hockey. Forcing a less-enthused kid into contact seems unnecessary – kids will flock to rugby anyway. Entice them with flag rugby, provide full contact options and let folks choose. We bet the numbers playing would stay pretty high; those that don’t want to play aren’t doing anyone any good… And to the author: We’ve sustained some of our injuries because we started playing rugby later in life and got hurt tackling as though we had helmets and shoulder pads on. If we learned as kids we’d have been better off… and regardless, we would do it all again in a heartbeat.
What we didn’t add in the above was that we got into rugby and ice hockey because Mom wouldn’t let us play American football in high school and made it clear when we were playing pee wee football. Looking back, do you think Mama Matt would trade 4 years of high school football injuries for 40 years of those sustained in ice hockey and 30 years of niggles earned in rugby? We wouldn’t.
Our conclusion? Glad you asked… While we are absolutely for kids playing contact sports, we think they should play because they want to. Heck, we’re still playing because had fun.
Fun is what sports is supposed to be all about.
Speaking of which, comment below and tune in tomorrow for the Czar of Fun, Cheesy Bruin.