2 March 2016

What makes you who you are?

When I look back, I know that playing rugby played a huge part in who I have become.rugby

Today I read that more than 70 doctors and academics are calling for a ban on tackling in rugby matches at UK and Irish schools.

To me this seems like a crying shame.

Whilst there are obvious dangers playing any contact sports, there have been no comparison with other sports. How many children break an ankle or leg playing football?

Regardless of this, we mustn’t take away the fact that it is sports like these that develop a competitive streak that will pay dividends later in life. It is these sports that develop drive, that develop teamwork and that build resilience.

Life itself is a series of collisions and we are who we are by how we pick ourselves up from them.

Perhaps there should be the option for children or their parents to opt out of contact rugby, but to ban it altogether – save for watered down versions – seems ludicrous.

We need to be careful because our education system is not currently built to suit and reward all types of children and, often, the children who may slip through the net academically are the most successful on the sports field. We must not take away their opportunity to enhance their skillset or remove an area in which they’re able to excel.

Perhaps we should be teaching better sportsmanship instead of banning tackling? Young people can learn their limits and the balance between the competition and wanting to win, and playing fair.

What do you think?

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