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Mothering Sunday

Posted: 19th March 2012 | Category: Headmasters's Blog

Saturday was wall to wall Rugby: the Scots winning the Wooden Spoon; the English routing the Irish; and Wales emerging as the Six Nations’ Champions after taming the French.
As an avid Rugby supporter, I was in my element!  I found plenty of jobs to do in the kitchen and lounge – never out of sight of the screen!  My wife also found much to occupy her – always out of sight of the screen!

However, one aspect of the day that irked me somewhat was the fact that an equally important Rugby event was taking place at Esher RFC and that there was no coverage accorded to the match taking place there.  Another vital battle was being staged between the England Women’s Rugby Team and a plucky, hungry Irish side.

Many sporting aficionados have absolutely no idea how women’s Rugby has developed in the last decade and few people have the chance to view the fine performances of these dedicated players on television.  Moreover, our world class lady cricketers (including Skippers very own Laura Marsh) and our fantastic Netball and Hockey teams hardly get a mention in the Press, let alone on TV.  I think that sports’ coverage is out of kilter and the balance should be redressed.

Yesterday, England Women’s dominance of European rugby continued with England securing a record breaking seventh successive Six Nations crown and a sixth Grand Slam in seven years despite Ireland producing one of their best performances ever against the reigning champions.  England emerged winners 23-6.  Surely this was worth broadcasting? Are we not an Equal Opportunities’ Society?

But why write about Rugby on Mothering Sunday of all days?

The answer is simple:  it is about my being a mixed national and my having a teenhood memory of my mother as I awoke this morning.

Mixed nationality:  Lewis (Tim) …born England; father…English; mother…German;  paternal Grandparents…Irish and Welsh; maternal Grandparents…German. What a mix!
I have always supported England; my brother supported Wales. My mum was an ardent Rugby fan too.  She would always root for the Welsh which often caused a family schism, especially with my dad! If Wales were not playing, she would side with the underdog. She always came to support me in my school matches and representative games; as she was 5 foot high she always arrived early so that she could be near the action.

Back to my teenhood memory:

It was a grim Saturday afternoon and UCS was playing KCS in a needle match.  At the time I was Captain of Middlesex U19’s and playing in the Centre.  My opposite number was an ugly chunky character who played for Surrey and, frankly, from the start we both knew that this would literally be a crunch game!

KCS had a dominant pack and their backs put us under pressure, though our scramble defence was really effective.  The two KCS centres executed a simple scissors which was easy to read; my resultant tackle left my opponent somewhat winded; we gained possession and subsequently scored.

Something in his eyes told me that he was out for revenge!  The bared teeth and flared nostrils seemed to confirm this!

The second half began with a poor kick-off from our Fly Half; their Full Back gathered the ball and placed the most huge Gary Owen high up into the heavens which I fielded close to the touchline; I passed inside to one of the forwards to set up a defensive ruck.  Five seconds later an express train ran over me and I was flattened by my friend the Centre!  A late tackle was his revenge, I thought, as I staggered to my feet slightly dazed.
The strangest sight filtered through my hazy vision:  my six foot opponent was crouching on the ground, cowering beneath a shower of blows being delivered by a squat little lady wielding a pink umbrella and cursing him with an assortment of Teutonic imprecations that even I found hard to translate!

The referee, one of my Rugby coaches, turned to me and said between clenched teeth, “Lewis, remove your dear mother from that poor lad and escort her from the pitch!”
Talk about embarrassment!  I prised the umbrella from mum’s hand and ushered her from the pitch.  I returned to the field which now resounded to hoots of laughter – mostly aimed at me!

I walked slowly over to my opponent and naturally apologised.  He smiled and told me that his mother was of Greek extraction and that she flew off the handle at the slightest provocation too and it was lucky that she hadn’t been there – we giggled at the thought of two fanatical mothers fighting in the mud whilst their sons watched!

Back to reality!

As it is Mothering Sunday, I have been a good boy: I have peeled the potatoes, the yams and parsnips; I have cooked the breakfast Fiona wanted – boiled eggs and soldiers; I have bought the Sunday Times; I even nipped round to Pippins Florist and purchased a fabulous bunch of Spring flowers.

A sudden thought: Why am I doing all this when my wife is not my mother?

The answer: she is the mother of my kids and a damn fine one too!

Happy Mothering Sunday to all mothers wherever you are!

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