A rugby man’s rite of passage

Sharing Sunday: Lovely personal account by a dad taking his son to his first international.

off the record

I took The Boy on a major rite of passage last week.   In some cultures that’s a religious ceremony, in others an ordeal of combat, and in others a drinking and singing ritual.  In my home country, it’s all three.

We went to the Millennium Stadium, successor of The National Stadium, Cardiff Arms Park where I saw my first international test match in 1990, and The Cardiff Arms Park where my grandfathers did the same. 

We got ready and dressed as gentlemen should for the magnificent game: polished shoes, jeans, tweed jacket, old school rugby shirt, bobble hat, red scarf. We ate chips in the open air while he explained to highly amused, lovely South Africans at our table why faggots and butties are foodstuffs.

He was well briefed.  With our pint of Brains and our jelly tots in hand, we sang the special songs loudly and out of tune, corrected…

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