A rugby mom is born
Weekend mornings take on a new feeling when your child is on the field.
Saturday mornings in Cape Town seem invariably cold and rainy, but they’ve never stopped me jumping out of bed to go to my weekly Nia class, around which I have built a personal mythology of rescue and happiness. As the week draws to an end, I breathe easier knowing that I will soon be dancing and sweating and generally readjusting the stress-o-meter in time for Monday.

Now, however, the children are at age where they are being picked for teams. I want to turn my face away from the bleak wet day and bury it back in the warm pillow. Saturday mornings no longer belong to dancing and being alone, but to the wild, wet outdoors cowering against miserable gusts of soggy wind.

One part of me grumbles relentlessly and wonders how long before the children wouldn’t really be bothered about whether I was watching the game or not.

The other part of me comes away from these noisy mornings that smell of boerewors rolls, sweat and soggy sports gear feeling like I have gained entry into a club I never knew I wanted to be a member of – a club I am beginning to love.

I don’t come from rugby stock. I don’t know rugby, nor do I care for it. So I stand beside what feels like a field way too big for anyone’s comfort turning my nose up at the instant coffee on sale and thrusting my hands as deep into my pockets as they can go without tearing the pockets apart. I want real coffee. I want to be running or dancing. Instead I am reduced to a shivering nose sticking out of several layers of warm fabric.

We score a try!

But then – after much scuffling backwards and forwards through a mud puddle designed to show up spectacularly against the pristine whiteness of rugby shorts – a ball emerges from what appears to be our side.

A line of boys sprinkle backwards from the other side’s goals. The ball gets run. Gets passed. It’s getting closer to what I now know are our goals. Suddenly I am walking up alongside this inexplicable game, scissoring madly, breathing hard. Our boys score a try. (I only find out when I text a friend that it is a “try” and not a “tri”.)

I leap up with an arm in the air and whoop and turn and grin at no-one in particular, as though I am responsible in some manner for a change on the scoreboard.

Earlier I watched my daughter casually shoot 6 and then 7 goals during her netball matches. We are all surprised that her eye and the hoop have such an easy relationship. She tucks her chin in after each goal, shyly, and finds my eyes. I grin and thumbs-up her.

The sacrifice of my weekly dance routine has turned into no sacrifice at all. Winter sport with the kids gleaming wet and proud in the weak sun after the rain: that’s a club I never thought I’d be happy to venture into the wild wet for.

Do you watch your children’s sports matches? Is it a chore or a pleasure?

Read more by Karen Schimke

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