A grand house inspires dreams.
A patch of grass nurtures dreams.
One rarely works without the other. Grass roots/local rugby – how else does the small child pick up a rugby ball and run with it? But how else are they inspired without watching legends, role models and mortals in jersey’s that one day they might wear? In a places where everyone can come together as a community.
I never wanted to pick up the rugby ball and dive into the game – team sports were never my thing – but I had a reason, an advantage. My passion for this sport was birthed as I grew up watching with my dad and sitting on the touch line watching as my grandfather refereed the junior games between different schools in the area.
For many though, it is when they step through the gates of a stadium for the first time, with the walls towering far above them, in awe inspiring dominance. It doesn’t even have to be a purpose built, huge stadium, it can be smaller places like the Brewery Field in Bridgend; St Helens ground in Swansea. They all inspire, they all create atmospheres capable of capturing a soul. Though there are few that win hands down and I think Llanelli and the Scarlets have to have that accolade, with absolutely no arguments. Stradey Park was iconic as it stood for passion, pride and a people. Now it has gone it has entered the realm of the legendary, even mythical.
I remember the first time I walked through the Millennium Stadium gates – I was 13 years old and intimidated by the entire place – it is huge to a child, even a teenager. Intimidated or not, it excited, the place feeds your passion. But then I walked through almost 10 years later, with a very different perspective, and it meant something – it reached back to the child I’d been, sat on the touchline cheering and laughing.
It is a place to make the opposing team balk when Wales are out in force and out to win. It is somewhere that creates a community: go to a Wales V Ireland match and the atmosphere is incredible, crackling and bounding off every inch because everyone is out to have fun, there’s no animosity and whilst it might hurt whoever looses, that loss gets shrugged off and the party carries on.
I truly wish I could have afforded tickets to the Rugby World Cup this year, especially the games in Wales – watching the game and atmosphere yesterday when New Zealand played Georgia – it just looked amazing. It really doesn’t matter who’s in the playing, it is always a special moment. That’s the other thing – add the game itself to the atmosphere the stadium and supporters create, it practically pulls at you through the TV, drawing you in.
Whether you notice it on a conscious level or simply soak in the atmosphere and enjoy yourself. You will walk out of there feeling warm and welcomed. If you’re Welsh – feel like you belong.
A Building unexpected
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