I cannot begin to tell you how bone-chillingly cold it was on this day.
The rain was lashing down. You can even see it in this photograph. The ground underfoot already slick with mud. There was a wind chill in the air. And it’s a miracle I even took this photo because I could not feel the ends of my fingers to make the connection on my camera’s shutter release button.
The two rugby teams played one match – 10-minutes each way – and it was clear no one was enjoying it.
My son’s team was losing. Their heads were down, they were cold to their very bones and every crunching tackle felt ten times worse because of the cold. Their 12-strong squad was simply outnumbered by their 40-plus player opposition who sent on a steady stream of pristine clean subs to face our weary, downtrodden boys.
After the first match the referee called the teams together and asked if they wanted to play on.
My son’s team had truly had enough. You could barely tell what kit they were wearing because they were so caked in mud. But their coaches asked if any wanted to stay on. The opposition would lend some players to make up numbers. Did they want to see it through, or call it a day?
Many of them came off and retreated to the warmth of their parents’ cars. Heck I wanted to retreat to the warmth of my car.
But my son chose to stay on along with four of his team mates. He stayed and played and pushed his desire to give up somewhere else.
At the end of the match he could barely move; his frozen body unable to do as he asked it. He made the journey home in the back of our car, stripped of his heavy kit, wrapped in my coat, wearing my gloves and his dad’s hat.
I have never ever been more proud of that boy in all the years I’ve stood loyally on the sidelines and watched him play.
And even better than that, he has said he is proud of himself too (after he eventually thawed out!)
This post is for for week 132 of The Gallery: Boys
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NOTE: There will be no Gallery theme this Friday for next Wednesday as it is taking a break while I am off on an exciting cruise to the Caribbean baby!