I was first introduced to rugby in Victoria in the spring of 2015 when my son was in middle school. I initially hated the idea of him playing such a rough sport and secretly hoped he would hate it too. But he didn’t hate it, so then I started hoping he would just lose interest and move on to something safer.
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But neither of those things happened. In fact, just a couple of weeks after playing his first game, he approached us about his desire to play rugby in Victoria and pursue entrance to a rugby academy. And that’s when I went and had a chat with his coach to see what this nonsense was all about!
Within minutes of speaking to him though, I felt my apprehension ease. Suddenly I saw what rugby people already knew – the game was going to teach my son way more than just how to play.
It took about a full year of my son playing before I realized that I was truly enjoying the game. I mean I actually began to look forward to game day and even took vacation time to leave work early to be at the field for kick off.
At the field, I began having conversations with people who have their roots deeply planted in the local rugby community and I gained a better appreciation of what it means to be a rugger and play rugby in Victoria.
The guys and girls who play this sport and those who support them are a tight-knit group who look out for each other.
The camaraderie is genuine.
They are like family.
One person I met shared with me that every job they had ever had came from a connection they had made while playing the sport. And I see this in my club’s Facebook group – members offering everything from jobs to free furniture to each other. Taking care of each other first.
So how did I go from hoping my son would quit to developing such a passion for the game that I will attend without him? First it has got to be the people – genuine, caring and helpful. Ruggers and those that support them have a sense of belonging to the greater rugby community.
And then there is the action!
I’m a life-long ice hockey fan. I love the speed, the intensity, the skill and the excitement. Hockey has it all and so does rugby! The action, the thrills, the awe-inspiring plays. It really is a fantastic spectator sport.
Finally, I love the many skills that players learn through practice and game play that are easily transferable to everyday living: teamwork, integrity, discipline, respect, communication and how to deal with winning and losing with class and dignity. Participants face a number of adverse situations when playing and learning to navigate those within the context of a game provides valuable learning opportunities. Team sports should be required for all youth – that’s how we grow kind, compassionate and well-rounded adults.
There is some great rugby in Victoria being played with several teams participating in the BC Premier and Premier Reserve divisions. As well, there is rookie rugby (sometimes called "minis" for ages 6-13) and age-grade rugby for 14-20 year olds. If you or someone you know is interested in playing rugby in Victoria, check the clubs listed below to find the one that best suits you. The only equipment you'll need is a mouthguard (I recommend you purchase the best one you can to protect teeth and gums) and pair of cleats (you may need one for mud and one for a dry field). Come on down to one of these fields and enjoy one of the fastest growing sports. Most Saturdays you’ll find me on the sidelines cheering on the James Bay Bears – stop by and say hello. Hope to see you there!
Go to BC Rugby for all the schedules and results.
Home games played at Macdonald Park in James Bay, 205 Simcoe Street, Victoria BC
Location of Macdonald Park in Victoria BC
Homes games played at Windsor Park, 1200 Newport Avenue, Victoria BC
Location of Windsor Park in Victoria BC
Home games played at Wallace Field
Location of Wallace Field in Victoria BC
Homes games played at Westshore Parks & Recreation, 1767 Island Hwy, Victoria BC
Location of Westshore Parks and Rec in Victoria BC
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