Bleeding Blue, White and Brown – On the rugby committee

Everyone, stop the search party! I have returned! I was not lost, and nor was I being held by Brumbies fans after I said amongst friends that the ACT didn’t have a ghost of a chance at scoring a win this year. Egg on face for me then.

I am back, in full form, and I have a topic that I wish to discuss that many players and supporters of club rugby will know rather well. It’s that awkward moment where anyone who possesses any talent involved with coaching, marketing, law or other skill useful to a rugby club get themselves invited along to what they think is a large meeting. Opinions will be discussed and their services and skills will be required for one meeting and then they can assist the club in a small way like they did before.

The unwitting victim trots forth down to their club on a non-training night of the week, pleased that their opinion is valued enough for a meeting to be convened to speak to them. All is well in the heart of our victim. Until they walk into the meeting room…..

It’s a committee meeting! Quick, run! Run for your life!

But it’s too late. You’ve already shaken the hand of the club president and taken your seat. Like an eternal bear trap holding you to your seat, you are now stuck there, for you have become….

A COMMITTEE MEMBER!

Actually, I shouldn’t sound so negative about clubs and their committees, especially Palmyra’s. It’s the brains and nerves of the clubs, with all the major players from each segment of the club (juniors, seniors, marketing, legal, etc.) coming together to discuss the management of the club and how it will move forward.

A young member on this committee knows that he/she has been tapped on the shoulder due his/her skills and enthusiasm, not to mention their willingness to give up one night a month to a process that would make parliamentary Question Time look like an episode of Jackass. As a young member of the committee, you have been Marked. Your future at the club is now on the fast-track if you wish it.

Personally, I feel that while the clubs may be the life-blood of rugby union as a sport, it’s volunteers that are the heart and passion behind each club. Those people who give up their Saturday afternoons to strap the forwards, weeknights to lead training, Saturday mornings to prep the field and Saturday evening to clean up after the premier grade has finished their round of drinks and the lowest grades have staggered off.

That goes for the committee as well. The club plans and moves only with the committee functioning enthusiastically and properly. I’ve got a very great amount of respect for the people that give up their time to help run the club and lead it through each season with diligence and undying passion.

So there may be some hyperbole in that statement, but it stands. Being a committee member for your club is not only an honour but it’s a mark of your enthusiasm for your club.

How do I know all of the above?

Because I’m the newest committee member for the proud Palmyra Rugby Union Club.

After being asked along to a meeting last week, to which I tottered just as keenly as the victim in the tale above, it struck me that I’d been asked along not to a special committee meeting but to a proper one, and that I’d be there as a proper committee member from now on. Once your name is on the minutes, that’s it. You’re there. At any rate, I am now a PR and marketing Siri (for those who don’t know what Siri is, ask Wikipedia. Or Siri) for the club.

But here’s the thing; despite my negativity about being a member of the committee as well as a player, on top of being an account manager for a social media firm AND stunning writer for this most magnificent and indispensable of websites ( again, some hyperbole), I love it.

Because I’m IN. Not just sharing a few beers with the legal guru as he and I discuss boot quality, but ACTUALLY in, where the club secretary sends you personal emails and the club president knows you not just by your first name but by your last!

I’m quite chuffed, really. I now realise that what I thought was being a ‘part of the club’ was actually just an outlying player. I occasionally went to the club for a drink, but mostly just had a beer with the boys after the away games and skedaddled off to whatever party I had that night. I was joining in with the games, but I’d missed one of the best experiences of belonging to a club itself.

As I explained before, you really FEEL the club and it’s part in you and your part in it once you volunteer for the club. You feel that passion and love for the club. You want to bleed the team colours and proudly wear your playing jersey everywhere.

But it’s deeper than this. It’s a small sense of knowing that it’s not what you can do for your club, but what your club can do for you. It’s home. It’s a family. It’s having that welcome place.

However, I will end my post there. Partly to give you time to reflect on how your own club makes you feel, but also because it’s best to not leak too much of the magic before the club comes into it’s own during season.

Now…

Pally on three! ONETWOTHREE PALLY!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

 

Next week: How to lead a horse to water, and make it drink! Or to put it more simply: How to make team-mates like pre-season.

About Ben Coughlan

Ben Coughlan is a proud member of Palmyra Rugby Union Club in Perth, where he plays on the wing in the lower grades. When not rugbying, he is an account manager at a social media firm. His favourite player is Kurtley Beale. Follow Ben on Twitter!

Comments

  1. Obelix says:

    When you’ve lost three games on the trot, and haven’t got a chance of making the finals, when you’ve set the field up, alone, at 7.30 am and are cleaning up, alone, at 6.30 pm in the dark, when your place in the run on team has been supplanted by the last bedraggled Kiwi to turn up on the day, when the club president has dumped the most onerous, boring and time consuming “essential” task on your lap, when you’ve been abused by a drunken lout for having the temerity to ask him to quieten down, when you’ve been physically threatened by a spectator from another club whom you’ve remonstrated with for bringing his own liquor to your grounds, when a player from the team you’re coaching calls you a cxxx for actually selecting a player who turned up for training instead of him, when you’ve given up a Tuesday night to represent a thuggish bogan before the Tribunal for an indefensible assault, when you’ve attended five committee meetings in six days … when you’ve done all that, and more, …..well, you’ve had your average season at any rugby club in the world.

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