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Stuck in the Middle: Scrumfest

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Stuck in the Middle: Scrumfest
by Kal Russell - Thursday, 20 April 2017, 10:14 PM

Stuck in the Middle: Scrumfest

After Spring Break is the start of rugby season at North Saanich.  We have a strong rugby program with dedicated coaches and keen kids.  This year we will be fielding four teams, including two grade 8 squads, a grade 6/7 team and a female team.

The kick-off to the season and one of the highlights each year is that all players and our coaches attend the Claremont Secondary Scrumfest.  The players and coaches spend all day at the high school learning from some of the best coaches in Canada, including coaches and players from UVic.  

The day serves a couple of purposes for our school.  First, it is as a great team/program builder as all our rugby players and coaches get to spend the day together.  It is also a great clinic and it is imperative for safety reasons that all our players learn how to play the game safely.  Since few of our students play rugby in the community, the more messages they get from our coaches and these elite clinicians on proper technique and safety the happier I am.  There are some financial costs to sending the group to Claremont, but it is worth it.

On Thursday, as these rugby players were returning to school after a day of passing, rucking and tackling I immediately noticed the large amounts of mud on their bodies and clothes, but more importantly I noticed the big smiles on all their faces.  

As the first group of grade 6 boys entered the building I asked them how they had enjoyed the day.  They responded, “Great.”

I wanted a little bit more of a response so I pushed on, “What was your favorite part of the day?”

“Tackling,” one player replied followed by a chorus of “Ya, Ya tackling was awesome!” from the others around him.

Then a group of female players came in and I asked them the same question.  Of course, they had a different perspective of the day, “The coaching was really good. We liked listening to all the UVic coaches and learning more about rugby.”  This was another good answer and it reinforced to me that this was a worthwhile event for our students to miss regular class to attend.  

The last group to enter the school was a group of grade 8 boys.  They were muddy and a couple looked a little bruised up, but they were smiling.  Now, these boys are in their third year of playing rugby at North Saanich, so they know the game well.  I was interested in how they would respond.  Would they like the high-level coaching, tackling or the games?  So when I asked, “Hey guys what was the best part of Scrumfest?”

The answer was “Hot Dogs!”  Followed by another boy saying, “Ya, we all got a free hot dog.”   

Not the answer I was looking for, so I replied, “Seriously!  We gave you the day off to go to a rugby clinic and ‘Hot Dogs’ was the highlight of the day?”

“Ya.  They were really good!” and with that comment and the basic needs of a grade 8 boys met - food and friends - they happily moved along believing that life is good.

At North Saanich Middle School you can play on one of our school rugby teams and you will get the opportunity to learn the game from some of Canada’s best coaches, but for a grade 8 boy, nothing beats a delicious hot dog!

Go Hawks!