The Beginning of a New Chapter

The Beginning of a New Chapter
Photo by Hanson Lu / Unsplash

“Your daughter is 18, isn’t she?”

The following minutes saw a very fast fast interrogation of the rulebook – to determine if a nearly 18 year old could legally “play up”.

And that’s how we found ourselves standing on the touchline of another rugby pitch today in biting wind, freezing temperatures and driving rain, cheering her on.

At the end of the match her team-mates surrounded her, hugged her, raised her up, and posed for numerous photos together – as a team. In the clubhouse a little later they volunteered her as one of the players of the match, which entailed downing a pint of something alcoholic while the rest of the team and the supporters cheered uproariously.

What a difference from the teenage girl team she has played with in recent months – where rebellions against each other and their coaches have swept across supposedly secret WhatsApp groups. Finally a team – where everybody respects each other, supports each other, where the coach is listened to, where nobody talks back, and where an entire team has your back.

It was strange in a way – seeing her being accepted into the fold. Many of the senior players have known her since she was little – they have seen her grow – seen her mature as a player, and a person.

It felt like letting go. Not in a bad way. It felt like “we’ve done our job – now it’s up to her” – and there was a huge amount of confidence wrapped up in that.

As we left the rugby club to head home for showers, baths, hot food, and a quiet evening, smiling faces clapped shoulders, shook hands, and shouted after us. It feels like the beginning of a new chapter – both for our daughter, and for our family.

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