Why we are here.

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Why we are here.

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 8:56 am

It was a long time ago, and young Radge was watching the 5N.

Sitting on the Knee of his rugby daft Welsh dad as he was having another bickering session Radge's English uncle.

On the telly young Radge was hearing  Bill McLaren commentating on the likes of Ieuan Evans, Brian Moore, Doddie Weir, Will Carling, Keith Wood, Gavin Hastings, Scott Gibbs, Phillip Sella, Richard Wallace, Rob Andrew, Philippe Saint-André and too many more to mention.

Radge of today is feeling nostalgic, looking back on those days of the late 80s and early 90s is probably the reason that anyone of my generation loves this sport.

It inspired me to pick the game up and play it for 17 years of my life.

The point I'm making is despite the occasionally rough banter on here, we all love this sport and the tournament that starts today is a massive part of why we love it and often the catalyst for loving in the first place.

Good luck to all the teams and enjoy the opening weekend, don't take this forum too seriously and do something wild, enjoy this place and the banter you can get from fans across the UK and Europe.

Don't mistake passion and pride for lunacy or delusion

Don't mistake relief and joy for those who experience it as being a bad winner.

Don't mistake dejection and frustration for those who experience that today as being a bad loser.

Remember we all love this sport and this place would be much better if we remember these things, before during and after the matches!

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by IanBru on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 9:22 am

Well said Radge.

I came to the game through a slightly strange route. I spent my early years in Cincinnati, Ohio where everything is baseball (at least it was then - the less said about the fortunes of the Reds, the better). The company my dad worked for had a lot of British employees who had come over, including a truly fantastic Welshman called Kevin Williams. His brother used to tape all of the Five Nations matches and post them in a bundle.

I remember either watching the matches with the Williams family, or my dad would come home form work with a fresh tape, and we'd watch.

For a young British kid in America, struggling to find some sense of identity or belonging, those little glimpses into life back in Britain, with Bill McLaren or Nigel Starmer-Smith speaking with such passion about this utterly mad game, it was so bloody important.

I like other sports - baseball and a bit of football on occasion - but nothing except rugby makes my right leg twitch during the anthems, or gives me that hot, nervous feeling in my chest on the first day of the Six Nations. I'm getting it right now.


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Re: Why we are here.

Post by The Oracle on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 9:24 am

Great post, Radge. I feel much the same myself. clap

I don’t think the banter on here goes overboard too often to be honest. It’s rarely, if ever, really personal. Mainly just arguments where people try to prove things that are impossible to prove Smile But overall I think we all need to be a little less sensitive and enjoy the banter for what it is. I’m 99% sure that we if all met up in real life we’d have a great night and some lovely rugby chat over a few beers Smile Such is the way with rugby fans.

Good luck all. Best sport in the world. And for me, personally, the 6 Nations is the best tournament in the world too. Plus it heralds the coming of spring and a move away from the shoite that is the drab, grey, drizzly winter in the UK. Best time of the year Smile

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by SecretFly on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 9:39 am

clap Nice reflections and sentiments there, Radge.

I'm not so certain anyone will abide by you wishes though! ...but then maybe they're not even supposed to, as getting furious and depressed and all the other emotions that come and go through the weeks, are what the competition is all about; intensity - of all emotions.

Rugby is a very strange sport for me, always has been.  I've seen a lot of sport in my time - I've seen many football world cups, many Olympics, some golf, a LOT of tennis when I was much younger in the classic old days of McEnroe and Connors and Borg.  But never in my life could I say that "I watch" sport.  I'm not a sports fan, don't have Sky sports because it would be a waste of money, was always the outsider at school when virtually all my classmates followed an English football club and endlessly did all the old card swapping of favourite players and all that stuff.  Bored me to tears.
I played a little Gaelic (GAA) at school, coz that's the kind of school I got landed into.  Hated it.  Just wasn't me.  Team sports weren't me.  Being shouldered hard by an opposition player just to say 'Hello' right before a game or if I came on as a sub, and the referee taking no notice (all part of the game *yawn*) infuriated me - because I hate being hit for no reason and I'm volatile when I am.
But Rugby was always different... always different.  When I watched it as a young boy - and my earliest memories are of the Gareth Edwards era - here was a sport where people hit you for a reason, and all was good.  I understood the concept.  There was something so pure and noble about the idea that it was a warlike game.  
No other sport comes close to the nervous excitement rugby engenders in me.  I just have to think about an oncoming game and if it's a big enough one with a lot riding on it, I get into this cold shivering mood days before the game itself.  It is I suppose a game that triggers some very base prehistoric senses - but in a very good way Wink  You only want your players to kill the opposition a little bit (and then shake hands after........) Whistle

Anyway, the beauty of rugby as a sport for me is that it just seems to transcend sport.  There are so many facets to it that there is virtually always something different to look for from game to game depending on the tactics of the teams.  Some like running beauty and some like Lineout prowess and some love the scrum power.  It's the only sport I 'watch'....so there just has to be something fundamentally different to it. It's more like chess..........for people who would be bored silly playing chess Cool

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by maestegmafia on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 9:51 am

I was born in a village where Rugby is religion and Methodism is an excuse for a good sing song on a Sunday morning. Rugby was never a sport it was an all encompassing way of life, every lamppost had to be side-stepped, all manner of things could turned in to a ball you could pass.

The players of our local team were legends, the players from the big teams were heros,  a man with an international cap was a god.

As we grew older and went to secondary school you realised it wasn’t just your village in your valley but our experience was the same everywhere.

When I went to university in England I saw the same there, when I moved abroad to australasia and Asia, Africa America all over Europe your saw this same love.

Rugby is about a shared enjoyment of a way of life throughout the world, it is the friends I have made and kept for many years from playing in a last minute pub game in Donegal or a game of touch on a beach in Anguilla.

And when we are old and tired and broken we still get that boyhood feeling in my stomach, the anticipation and excitement about the sport we now can only watch.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by stub on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 11:08 am

What a brilliant set of posts, all of which resonate strongly with me. Growing up in Yorkshire, football was the sport that captured the imagination most (the steady decline of Leeds with a few false dawns along the way) and up until the age of 18 I had little exposure to rugby in any form - I know, very sad. However at the age of 18 I remember properly watching a five nations match at a new friend’s house in Merthyr. The combination of the rugby passion in the room along with copious amounts of Stella Artois must have bewitched me as for the next three decades I could not get enough of it! As many of you have said far more eloquently than me, there is something incredibly noble and primal about the sport which seems to bring out the best (mostly) in its players and supporters. Here’s hoping for a vintage 6 nations and a great couple of months.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by BigGee on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 11:34 am

I started playing rugby as a 10 year old and loved it from the first minute I picked up the ball, it gave me something that football could never do. It seemed I was made for it and it was made for me. Here I am 44 years later and I have never lost the love.

I grew up in a time of a strong Welsh team and a poorish Scottish one. There was a lot of heartbreak involved in supporting Scotland, then as now, but yet I kept coming back for more and then just once in a while, something miraculous happened.

My first ever international England v Scotland 1983, at Twickenham and Scotland won!

Same again in 1990, this time at Murrayfield.

The joy that this gives you and the knowledge that every underdog does eventually have their day always keeps you faithful and coming back for more, even when times are really bleak and for Scotland over the past 10 years, they certainly have been!

I loved playing rugby though, as well as watching. Some of the best moments of my life have been in rugby changing rooms, with the banter and the camaraderie that goes on, before and after the battle.

I probably stopped playing to soon, in my mid twenties, as a new career made it more difficult and then life, marriage and children came along and took priority. I probably regret that if I am honest, but it is a tale that many others would probably relate to as well.

One of the reasons I came onto this forum is that I missed talking about rugby, not really frequenting rugby clubs or pubs any more. As a anglo scot living in England, I am quite used to standing up for my team and usually being a minority view. That is the way it is being a Scottish rugby fan, but everyone has always been happy to have us along for the ride!

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by Valleyboy on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 11:39 am

Six Nations is a wonderful time for me as I get to see my old friends. We have a few drinks and a catch-up and pretend to be those kids we were 30 years ago and often do the same stupid things.
We are all in our fifties now and moved away from our Home town years ago. London, Somerset, other parts of Wales, we've all moved away ....but we all make the effort to meet up again for the Wales matches. Usually we meet up again in our old town and get to see the same faces still frequenting the same pubs but we also have the odd trip to Dublin, Edinburgh, Rome, London.
I love rugby and the Six Nations is magical time. It's largely responsible for keeping these old friendships going because I'm sure without the annual excuse to get together, we would have drifted apart for good.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by Poorfour on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 11:53 am

Rugby was the thing my dad did. He played - though I am pretty sure he stopped when I was still too young to remember it - but the theme from Rugby Special was part of the soundtrack of my youth, along with Test Match Special, Ski Sunday and Doctor Who.

And every six months or so, dad would go out for a Saturday to watch a match at Twickenham.

Dad wasn’t great at relating to kids. We never played football together, we never did much together at all. But when I was eleven, he took me to see England play Australia. It was a special trip, probably my first live sporting event, my first pre-match curry. I didn’t really like the curry, the Twickenham terrace was cold and crowded, and the match itself was a fairly drab defeat for England. But I loved it all the same.

About the same time, I started playing rugby at school, and discovered that, unlike most other sports, I was quite good at it. I wasn’t co-ordinated, but I was big, and quick and had a high tolerance for pain. Dad had waxed lyrical about the great Number 8s he’d lionised, and here I was playing Number 8 for the school first team.

A change of school and a dose of puberty later, I was 6 inches taller and demoted to lock. You can tell from my 606 handle how much it suited me, and I drifted out of playing.

But I still went to internationals with Dad. And then my wife suggested that we should start going to club games. The plan was to sample all of the London clubs, but after our first foray we realised that we simply couldn’t be arsed to go to Wycombe, Reading or Watford when the Stoop was practically on our doorstep.

Rugby is inclusive. You can take kids to rugby games, and they can wander safely around the ground on their own. People of all shapes and sizes can play: my daughters both play, one a tiny but surprisingly vicious blonde thing and the other described by her coach as “the Billy Vunipola of the Under 9s”, as does my son, who is having to learn how to rely on his skills as he plays against early-sprouting giants. My sister played for Oxford with friends who went on to captain their countries.

And off the pitch, the rugby community almost without exception puts its differences aside to share a pint and a bit of banter. I have several friends with whom I have very heated debates about the dubious merits of Brexit, but when the rugby starts, differences are forgotten. A friend from work was in a bar watching the Lions this summer and got chatting to a very rugby literate Kiwi, who was happy to share his time and insight even after he’d explained that he knew a bit about the game because he was Todd Blackadder. That, for me, is what rugby is about.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by Cumbrian on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 12:05 pm

Good thread.

I grew up on the west coast of Cumbria, a traditional rugby league hot bed. My uncle used to play for my home town club Workington Town whilst they bounced between the first division and second division. Like all good West Cumbrian kids my brothers and I played league and somewhat looked down on the union. They weren't as tough, fast or skilful in our eyes. Laugh

The thing that initially changed my mind was (and this might sound odd) was the singing. I can remember watching the Six Nations and impromptu songs breaking out. I can remember thinking 'these aren't like the football chants that you would hear down the Town ground, they are real songs!'. I began to realise that there was a real earthiness and history, something almost elemental about the game. League was entertainment, this was something greater, something more. So I started watching and became invested.

Soon we started playing union at school and I learned the rules and stopped screaming about the things that seemed nonsensical (to a league playing kid). Then I watched the game every chance I got. I still remember Heineken Cup games between Leicester, Northampton and Bath against the old Welsh clubs like Llanelli in the laate 90s. I grew to love them.

Eventually I joined a club and played until I buggered my knees. The game has given me life long friends and (as quite a shy person) a fairly easy 'in' when I meet new people. It has given me so much.
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Re: Why we are here.

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 12:17 pm

This thread is doing exactly what I hoped it would Hug
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Re: Why we are here.

Post by RiscaGame on Sat 03 Feb 2018, 10:52 pm

I love this sport, as it gave me more of an “in” with people in my primary school than football did. Then I found my way to my local club’s junior section and from then 26 years of madness happened.

Thanks to this game, I’ve done and won things I could only have dreamed of. I’ve been to parts of the world I couldn’t have imagined possible. I’ve had common ground with military personnel all over the world, including places like Japan. I’ve played in four different countries for at least a season.

Most importantly of all, I’ve gained a bond with my dad that I maybe wouldn’t have had without our shared stories/interest and him being able to watch me play. He also took me to go to watch Wales before I could afford to go.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by lostinwales on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 2:17 am

It's that Dad thing again. My dad worked much too many hours but had played rugby as a young man. His best friend (my uncle) had played representative rugby while in the Seaforth Highlanders and I think his brother had played for wasps. He'd work saturday mornings but during the 5N we'd all watch the rugby on the afternoons.

I can't remember much before the early 80's but I do remember Beaumont and the grand slam, Maurice Colclough, Andy Ripley and all. Then there were the Carling years.

I loved playing it too. I loved the physicality. That whole thing of smashing the other guy into the ground as hard as possible, hurting them within the rules (but not too much).

I was a big kid at 13 so ended up playing 2nd row. Then stopped growing around 15, but still played 2nd row because I knew how and nobody else wanted to. One memorable time I played a colts game with a guy who was a 6'9'' hammer thrower, whose chest was so large I could not actually bind onto him. I did have some weekends when I would play a school match on a saturday morning and colts match in the afternoon.

Then came university. I should have just found a local club, but never liked the culture of the university clubs and drifted away from playing. Life got too chaotic.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by Pot Hale on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 6:11 pm

Good stories. Started playing at 7 in school cos my brother said it was good fun. It was. He and I played on the same teams sometimes or in fierce rivalry with each other. And when we left school, he got me to join his club and we played for the next 7 years. Then, like others, injury and work and life intervened. Watching on sidelines or screens or in stadiums became the norm.

Fifty years on, my brother and I still meet up and watch rugby together and snaffle a pint or three. It could be on the sideline of a school’s cup match, his son’s university team, or the good old Six Nations. Doesn’t matter to us. Rugby is rugby is rugby. The best kind of brotherhood.
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Re: Why we are here.

Post by westisbest on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 8:57 pm

Got into rugby watching the 91 World Cup.
Ireland Australia at Landsdowne Road.

Gordon Hamilton’s try looked like we had done it, only for Michael ‘bloody’ Lynagh to break Irish hearts.

Really got into rugby after that tournament.

Also loved watching Simon Geoghan and Ritchie Wallace on the wing.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by The Oracle on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 9:06 pm

westisbest wrote:Got into rugby watching the 91 World Cup.
Ireland Australia at Landsdowne Road.

Gordon Hamilton’s try looked like we had done it, only for Michael ‘bloody’ Lynagh to break Irish hearts.

Really got into rugby after that tournament.

Also loved watching Simon Geoghan and Ritchie Wallace on the wing.

I always thought you were Welsh! ‘West is Best’ is the slogan of Llanelli/Scarlets! I think they even have it spelled out on the seating at Parc y Scarlets.


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Re: Why we are here.

Post by westisbest on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 9:16 pm

The west is best is cos I’m a Connacht man.
I’ve had a few people thought I was welsh.

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by SecretFly on Sun 04 Feb 2018, 9:24 pm

westisbest wrote:The west is best is cos I’m a Connacht man.
I’ve had a few people thought I was welsh.

People thought you were Welsh??? The Shame of it!!!!!!!!!! Twenty Four Hail Marys and fifteen lashes for you, me boy. We'll knock that diluted stuff out of you!

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Re: Why we are here.

Post by George Carlin on Mon 05 Feb 2018, 6:57 am

Nice thread Radge and some great stories here.

As someone who has lost both parents over the past 12 months, I have realised that some of my strongest memories were of my dad picking me up from mini rugby on a Saturday morning caked in dried mud and everyone shouting at the TV watching the 5 Nations each year with Bill McLaren's tones singing over the din. That feeling of nausea before a Scotland kick off has remained the same for 40 years.
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