So from the title of this blog it may or may not be obvs what this is going to be about! – basically its about how I got into rugby!
It started at high school – one P.E lesson we were introduced to rugby. It was a fun session. I mean running into your peers and smashing them onto the floor was the perfect way to channel all those teenage hormones.
Majority of the girls were not up for it at all. The girls didn’t want to get down and dirty, winced at the idea of contact. But I was all for it!
Let me give you a bit of background.
In high school I was one of those girls that would fight boys- I have never had a fight with a female (apart from my crazy sisters- even then it was playing blow to blow just for fun ) . I wasn’t one to argue, I didn’t know how to cuss or run my mouth… I was more of the shut up and lets fight kinda girl.
When I look back at it , I used to get angry at little remark that boys used to throw at me – I was forever referred to as a ‘beast’. One time I chased one guy around the school corridors , another time I chased one with a rounders post- I know what you’re thinking , violent black girl stereotype blah blah blah- I was actually quite studious but just got easily pissed off.
I feel like I was defending myself more than anything else. I never really went out of my way to look for trouble but when trouble came I had to deal with it the way I knew- now that I’m a rational adult I do sometimes think what the hell was I thinking.
Anyway back to the rugby stuff.
After a session of P.E my teacher (Miss Macaulay) said to me she thinks I’m quite good and I should give rugby a TRY ( no pun intended – LOL ! ).
I didn’t think much about her comment at the time. Me and my girls just went into the changing room and bundled ontop of eachother- thinking that was what rugby was all about. I was at the bottom of that bundle And guess what – I cracked my two front teeth- btw I had perfect teeth and it was ruined – I had to go to the dentist to get it fixed- I was gutted .
Roll on to A- level P.E , I had to choose a sport to play in order to be assessed. Then I remembered my high school teacher’s recommendation about rugby, so I thought fine I’ll do that then.
My P.E teacher took me to my first rugby club at Ealing trailfinders- membership all paid for by the school ( Thanks Miss Middleton 🙂 ).
I dropped balls, I ran in opposite directions, I missed tackles- I mean I was a bit shit for the first couple of games- I learnt the rules as I went along. Started on the wing as we all do. Watching the game. – slowly my confidence came- I was scoring tries . Tackling anything that came onto my path. Played for Middlesex county , forever winning player of the match – that beastly school girl was tearing it up on the pitch – it felt great!! – I have faced a few challenges , being a non – drinker and wearing a headscarf wasn’t easy.
There was this one time I went to score a try and my headscarf got pulled off during a tackle! I was mortified- not because it came off but because my hair was in a state… I couldn’t even celebrate my try , I was so embarrassed. My teammates pulled me up and was asking If I was ok, they had never seen my hair before they were equally shocked! ‘Guys I’m ok – my headscarf came off ‘ but I’m fine’ – they were acting like I was in a road traffic accident or something. I do think it’s because they were trying to be respectful and let’s face it- it was awks!
Thank God for the scrum cap- which has saved me from anymore of those embarrassing incidents!
Two things that it’s taught me :
1. Make sure my hair is done
2. Make sure my hair is done!
I hit 18 and It was time to go to uni so I had to say goodbye to my first club. I joined University of Hertfordshire womens rugby. I was abit apprehensive so I joined in February instead of September, and on my first training session we were doing NON CONTACT drills- and me being me , I couldn’t hold back- I tackled a fellow team mate- I didn’t even do it on purpose, it just happened ( it was the ‘beast’ in me I guess ) -she lived.
I played for the whole 3 years. I made some of the best rugby moments to date. At the start I was the only black Muslim girl on my team, this didn’t deter me as they were a lovely bunch of girls but I did however feel like I had to be good because I was physically noticeable … one time during a game I saw another black girl on the opposing team. ‘MINDBLOWN’ there was another black girl on the pitch who wasn’t me… like HELLO! can anyone else see this!? I was shocked but in awe. (Yass !! back girl magic ** air fist pump**) And guess what she was my opposite number! So when we called out who we were marking I said ‘ I’VE GOT THE BLACK GIRL!!’ – almost everyone stopped and turned to look at me… well I am allowed to say that sooo…
I made so many great memories, played at Allianz Park, played for Herts county, won the BUCS league ( unbeaten- whoop whoop) and made a bunch of cool friends!
Who would have thought 8 years , 2 kids and a whole bunch of injuries later I’d still be doing nervous poos before a game!?
I do owe it to my two P.E teachers. ( Miss Middleton and Miss Macaulay) They inspired me to pursue a sport that has given me so much more than I could ever have imagined.
That once beastly school girl can be a beastly rugby player and in the world of rugby thats a bloody compliment !