The harsh world of sport and never giving up

So my son’s journey as a player training with a Premiership rugby club is over. The world of sport is of course highly competitive and can be quite harsh.

My son, along with a handful of his school friends and a lot of other local boys, trained with the club for two years. They cut a few boys at the start of the summer and my son made it through the cut. They then assessed the boys over the summer at training and a number of matches, with the aim of cutting around half of them. This is of course not great if you’ve broken your pelvis and are unable to do any sport for three months.

But my son didn’t give up. He went along to the first summer training session and handed in his form along with the other boys. And I felt a little heartbroken for him as he walked away.

Was he wasting his time even filing his form in and handing it in? What chance did he have of making it through when he couldn’t even play? But, on the other hand, how is it fair to get rid of him when he has been unable to play? Couldn’t he go back when he’s fully recovered to be assessed then?

But clearly he couldn’t. I have a feeling that, if he’d been able to play over summer, he would have stood a very good chance of getting through.

The Academy system in Premiership rugby is really impressive. They support boys with their studies, but they train them several times a week in rugby. They get sessions in the gym, they learn about nutrition, they have access to club physios when they’re injured… And every year a few more boys are cut until they get to under 20s and they are full-time Academy players.

My son never wanted to be a Premiership rugby player. But he didn’t want to give up either. He enjoys rugby and would have liked the chance to keep playing with the club for a little bit longer – partly for the glory, but mainly to help his school rugby and to put him in good stead for university rugby.

(In year 7 he went on a trip to Twickenham for the varsity game – Oxford v Cambridge. He would like nothing more than to be playing rugby for Oxford in front of year 7s from his old school.)

So the decision has been taken out of his hands. He doesn’t need to say to them at 18: ‘Actually, I’m going to university, I’m not going to be a professional rugby player’.

It is definitely for the best. But I still feel slightly sad about the bad timing and that he wasn’t even given the chance to show what he could do, due to his injury.

But it will be good for his athletics career and I will write about that separately.

rugby ball, rugby, sport, The harsh world of sport and never giving up

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh that’s a shame after all that effort, but at least he has the athletics to press on with. I was impressed to hear about the Academy system though.

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    • Thanks very much, it a shame. The Academy system is really impressive. It’s a shame they don’t have something like it in athletics, but sadly there is far less money in athletics.

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  2. That’s such a shame for him, how horribly unlucky to be out due to an injury like that. You’d think a rugby club would be more understanding, especially since most top level rugby players end up away from the game for a significant amount of their career due to injury.

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    • Thanks very much. I was hoping they would be more understanding too! Maybe they would have been if the injury had been sustained at rugby. Not once did he get a personal reply to an email about his injury. The email to let him down was the same one sent to everyone – ‘Thank you for all your hard work over the summer… ‘.

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  3. That is such a shame, but I know he will be the best at whatever path he chooses to take. It is a shame this happened, but he is amazing x

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    • Thanks very much, that is such a lovely thing to say! Although it is disappointing, it is good that he can now focus completely on his athletics. x

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  4. Oh no! That’s such a shame for your son. At least now he can focus on his athletics career. x

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    • Thanks very much. It is a shame, but it might be a blessing in disguise for him. He never wanted to be a professional rugby player, but if he got the chance to be a professional athlete, he would take it! It’s ironic because there is far less money in athletics than rugby, but his heart is in the athletics. x

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  5. That is such a shame for your son but good for him for not giving up. Even if it is for the best, it is sad that he never got that chance to show more of what he could do. Good luck to him with athletics though, especially if that is where his heart lies x

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    • Thanks very much. It’s exactly that – I would have liked him to be given a fair chance to show what he can do! But it’s good that he can focus on his athletics more fully now. We’re hoping for great things from him over the next few years. x

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  6. This is a shame but as they get older, i think they kind of need to narrow down their field anyway don’t they? He’ll have a lot more school work this year and now, as you say, he can concentrate on athletics and excel. I hope he’s not too disappointed.

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    • Thanks very much. I don’t think he’s too disappointed and it has taken the decision making out of his hands. They advise not specialising in sport right up to about 16, but if he’d made it through with the rugby it would have forced him to specialise in that. I’m really hoping he can excel in athletics in the coming years.

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  7. Oh wow, harsh and I can imagine what it must have been like for you watching him hand in his form. I’ll have to go and read about his athletics now won’t I?

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    • I felt so sad watching him hand his form in, but I wouldn’t let him know that I thought he had no chance. At least he did what he could to stay in the game. It’s their loss and it will definitely be better for his athletics not to have the rugby too.

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