This weekend one of my teammates threw a birthday party, as she had turned 25. 25! I think I was done playing rugby at 25. I was done my college playing years, had done the club rugby thing for a year or two, and then got married and began planning a family. I returned to rugby again last spring, having had our three kids and now being well past 25. I wonder whether these young ladies will continue on and through, or whether they’ll take a temporary or worse, more permanent break from the sport. One woman I talked with on Saturday, just perhaps hitting 30, feels as if her body doesn’t recover quickly enough from the abuse our sport deals out, and so she’s considering stepping away. I told her I had dreams of rugby fields at night, that that’s what drew me back in, abuse or no. (To be fair, she had a pretty tough injury season this go-round.)
Our coach is 58 (?!), I think, and still plays occasionally. I’m not yet 40, though approaching it quickly, wondering how long I can keep going, and hoping it’s a good long time. I’m daydreaming of throwing a birthday party this year with my rugger team, just to show them a number higher than 25, still out on the field, still making the tackles, still taking the hits. Age, so far, has been a matter of needing to counteract slowness to recover with more vigourous preparation beforehand. I’ve gotten faster and stronger through many sessions at the gym. I’ve gone to all the pre-season practices to get to rugby readiness. In March we’ll begin our spring season, and the not-yet 40 year old will be on the field with teammates literally young enough to be my children. (I did graduate from Glen Burnie, after all… some folks get a good jumpstart there on child rearing..) And I’ll be kicking some tail, and showing ’em it can still be done, well past 25, well past 30, and keeping on rucking!