We felt a bit sad when my son was dropped from the elite rugby team. Because of his injury, he hadn’t been given a fair chance to show what he could do. But if we’re honest, being a professional rugby player was never part of the plan, nor was training several times a week with the Academy of a Premiership rugby team.
So now he can focus fully on his athletics.
Athletics, and specifically long jump, is where my son’s heart is – and what he’s best at.
For a long time, athletics was his third sport. It was something he only had time to do in summer, when the rugby and football seasons were over. Last year, they held winter jumps training on a Wednesday. Wednesday was the night he trained with the rugby club. And if rugby training wasn’t on, he would train with his football club.
But this year athletics has definitely become his first sport. Being cut from the rugby team means he no longer has to go to training on a Wednesday evening. And, although football training still takes place on a Wednesday, my husband (who coaches the team) has given my athlete his blessing to go to jumps training instead.
My son would have never given the rugby up of his own accord, but I had my concerns about how it would affect his athletics.
Plus, rugby players are a very different shape to athletes. Rugby players work out in the gym to build muscle, even the wingers, like my son. Right now, my son is the shape of an athlete – he is tall and slim, with just the right amount of muscle. If he was heavier, it would be harder for him to lift himself off the ground and get the distances he wants to achieve.
Without the distraction of rugby (other than school rugby) and the time to focus on his jumps all year round, who knows what my son could achieve next year?
He has dreams for the coming years – break the school record and break the club record, go to the national competition he missed this year and maybe qualify for the British Athletics Championships. The ultimate dream would be the Olympics. Who is to say that couldn’t happen?