Our eldest son is a huge rugby fan and is now playing in his sixth season for our local club, as well as belonging to the school rugby club. He watches DVDs of old matches, is always watching games on the TV and reads as much as he can about the sport. In the house, he generally has a rugby ball in his hand and is trying out various moves. He is passionate about the sport and on the wall in his classroom this term, he has written a piece about himself saying how he wants to be a professional rugby player, play for his national team and go on a British Lions Tour. Who knows if he will reach his dream, but he definitely has the drive and passion.
As soon as we knew tickets were going to be released last year for the Rugby World Cup, I registered so that I could apply as soon as possible. We were lucky to receive tickets in the first ballot for Japan vs. Samoa and New Zealand vs. Namibia. This summer I bought tickets for the Bronze Final and my husband was lucky enough to get corporate tickets to see France vs. Italy. It has been an amazing experience for our son to watch eight different nations play rugby and to soak up the atmosphere at three stadiums and enjoy the activities in the Fanzones. One of the highlights was seeing the All Blacks perform their Haka. The memories that he has from these matches will last him a lifetime and inspire him to reach his goal in life of playing professional rugby. He even had 5 seconds of fame on the TV as he was captured in the audience. The smile on his face says it all – it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime for him and one he has thoroughly enjoyed. If I could have bought tickets to see his nation play - Wales, it would have been the icing on the cake. However, there’s always the Six Nations, as the next World Cup in Japan is not going to be a possibility!!
As well as being an amazing experience, the time he has spent watching these matches has been respite from the challenges he faces having two siblings with ASD. It is so important he gets quality time to enjoy his interests without having to worry about if his brother and sister are happy are as well. He is considerate for their needs and when he turns 11 in three weeks time, he will get us up super early to watch him open up his presents whilst his brother is still asleep, as he knows birthdays cause him high levels of anxiety.
The Rugby World Cup may have finished, but our son’s rugby season has plenty of games left. Today, I watched him play rugby for the first time this season. I only watched the last half of the session, as our youngest son finds it too noisy and crowded and doesn’t enjoy attending. Today he went on the understanding that we would stand at the end of the pitch and not talk to anyone, as he doesn’t like people coming up to him, as he doesn’t know what to say. I was lucky to see my eldest son score three tries and be awarded the Grafter’s trophy for the match. Fingers crossed, this will be the first of many games I will watch this season.