|I was asked to contribute a small article about us, I said sure, I’ll do it, no problem. Well that’s where the problem began. Where do I start?
I suppose in recent years we have been quite successful in terms of winning on the field. For those who don’t know our record just take a look at the results page, the results speak for themselves. We have been to the National Championship every year for the last 4 years, beginning in Div 3 and working our way up to Div 2. At first we were hesitant in going up a division since it involved more travel and we were uncertain of ourselves. We are not a big team and every time you go up a division or go through to another round of the playoffs the teams get bigger, faster and stronger. Did we have the personnel to cope?
Well, the simple answer was yes, we did have the personnel. We looked at what talent we had available to us and adopted a style that was suitable for us, no one else, but us. The coaching staff developed a style that is somewhat risky but is enjoyable to play. It is 15-man rugby and involves everyone. Everyone is expected to handle the ball and everyone is expected to ruck. There can be no spectators in our team. We are indeed fortunate in that we have the individuals available and are willing to play this way. We are also fortunate in respect that we can change our style of play should our personnel change and a more cautious approach is needed. While my personal views of hammers are well documented they are still a valuable aspect to the game.
As is the norm not all rugby teams exist because of the win/loss ratio. It is possible to play the game and win or lose still enjoy it. While it is infinitely better to win we still seem to enjoy a social life that overcomes our win/loss ratio. The old saying, “It is better to play rugby and lose than softball ever”, seems to be true. Rugby is truly the greatest game ever. Where else can you come together regardless of size, ethnicity or whatever and really and truly appreciate the company of your fellow players. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t take delight when he sees a fellow teammate?
It also seems to me that most successful teams have a mixture of older and younger players, youthful exuberance and veteran players with a certain amount “of the dog”, in them. As I often say, it is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog. I believe this and believe that we possess that trait, if we did not our success would be limited. I have never yet seen us quit and don’t believe I will. If you have a faint heart rugby is not for you. If you give everything you have, regardless of being an A or B player, you will earn the undying respect of your peers. With that said I am proud to be associated with all of you from the Charleston RFC and all of you have my deepest respect.
So, I will close with a little thing Brian O Driscoll said to me as he was being carted off with a serious shoulder injury playing against the All Blacks in New Zealand, obviously in pain he said, “Boy, am I glad we’re not playing Charleston”.