My daughter Natasha in action for her club side, Hornets (Weston-super-Mare).
I’ve looked after Yatton RFCs website for several years, and whilst still coaching was also junior chairman 2014 – 2016. Four seasons ago, I received an email addressed to me in both of those capacities from a very earnest sounding young man named George Haynes. He wanted to know if we had a colts team, as although he didn’t live in the area he visited it often, and he wanted to get back into playing rugby following some time out through injury. I put George in touch with then colts coach Mike Patch, and after playing with the colts George soon integrated into the 2nd / 3rd XVs as a senior player in the following seasons, during which we became good friends. A mutual friend and teammate once warned me not to stand by George at a bar, as he’d “…bankrupt himself buying you drinks because he’s such a nice bloke.”
(a.k.a An ode to my rugby playing career…)
Late 1970’s South Africa – a beautiful country, but with questionable politics. We’d moved there when I was only five years old due to my dad’s job. A country where Rugby Union was almost a religion, and young (white) boys indoctrinated very early on. With a dad keen on rugby too, it was no wonder that I soon found myself with a rugby ball in my hands.
It’s lovely seeing kids enjoy something. Laughing and playing, with all of the innocence of youth etc. That joy ratchets up a notch or three when it’s your own kids, and you witness first hand their enjoyment of an activity or whatever it may be. So, imagine then the dismay, when something that has brought an immense amount of pleasure for a number of reasons over a number of years starts having the opposite effect. Very simply…I see my lad doing something reluctantly that he used to do without question and full of joy, and that makes me sad and want to know why.
One of the beauties of having several children, is that they are all so different from each other. Watching each of them grow up and interact with the world around them is fascinating in each case. As a parent, one’s relationship with each of them is rewarding for both the same and different reasons as a result of that individuality. Whilst they are all different however, they are after all the components of a whole. The dynamic is very noticeably different when one is not there, as has been seen of late with our eldest moving away to university. I’ve written a few things on this blog about my pride in my kids…three out of four of them so far. So, it’s more than high time I finished this off and spoke about the youngest of the brood, Imogen Frances Foley.