Game Changer

MH3 —  June 13, 2013

Let me be clear, football is still my passion.

But I am now royally pissed off that I never got a chance to play rugby when I was a kid.

Now the cynics might scoff and say that’s only because I am now doing work for Rugby Canada. To that, I say, I do mucho work with Nike and I don’t fancy myself a track star. But I can see their point, and yes on Saturday I will be hosting at BMO Field; as our currently undefeated Senior Men’s National Team goes head to head in a Test Match with mighty Ireland in front of 20,000 fans.

But no, that’s not where my angst has originated. It’s more personal and closer to home. It’s watching my twelve year old in his first season with Toronto City U14. Patrolling the sideline at his games, which I will also be doing Saturday, has given this football freak a close-up look at the true origins of gridiron combat. Despite my business interests, I really don’t know the game of rugby.

But what I have witnessed has now made me jealous. Non-stop action. Dashing runs. Brutal tackling. Breath stealing goal line stands. Unbelievable fitness. Constant communication.

As an under-sized football player with a passion for the wishbone, you can understand my jealousy. Rugby was probably my sport. Yet it didn’t exist in my home town. What’s worse, when I didn’t make it in university football, I inquired about joining the rugby team. The rugby coach dismissed my eight seasons of football as irrelevant, given I hadn’t played rugby ever, and told me essentially to go away.

Today I wish he had suggested I at least try intramural, because fast forward to 2013 I may have ended up coaching my son, my Panthers, and maybe your daughter in rugby… instead of football!