A Special Award

A photo of my family and I fetting the award.

A photograph of my family getting the award photo credit Maria Macaulay © 2017.


Two and a half years ago my wife Donna didn't like rugby. She thought it was too violent. But we were looking for a sport for our son to try and rugby was recommended to us by a family member. Our son was a keen book reader, he still is. He would rather read books than go out and play. Unfortunately it meant that our son was getting overweight and unhealthy. He couldn't run properly because of this. I remember when we took him to the club to try rugby out that he made running look extremely laboured. However he persevered and finished his first session with a huge smile on his face. He was sweating too. Result! He actually said he couldn't wait to go back again. So we kept taking him back to training. Then he started playing matches against other rugby teams. We went along to watch and to shout our support from the touch lines. Rugby started to grow on Donna.

My youngest daughter, watching from the side at one of my son's matches, saw some girls playing rugby and decided she would like to give it a go. She was suprised and excited that girls could play too. She tried it and is still playing as the only girl in her team.

Donna was next to start playing after Livingston created a women's team in Septemer 2016. Donna said that if it wasn't too violent for the kids it wasn't too violent for her and that she would like to try it. Clearly a big change in her opinion. Starting rugby was a huge deal for Donna, it still is. But not because of the "It's too violent" opinion she once had. Donna has suffered for many years from depression and extreme anxiety issues. She had a meltdown before going to her first training session. She was not scared of the sport, but of dealing with people. She could manage shouting support for the kids from the side because she didn't have to deal with people, but if she joined a team sport she would have to. Donna was also self-conscious about her body shape. However, she started in week 2 and hasn't missed a training session since.

It's not just the sport, but the people at the club have helped Donna to become fitter, more focussed and more confident. From her coaches (Gav and Paul) to the club president (Lee Anne) and the players on the women's team. They have all played their part in helping Donna recover and to find a hobby which she adores. Admittedly, she has had the odd meltdown since September but has gradually been getting better at dealing with people. She has even volunteered to be the team manager for the ladies because she knows it will challenge her and force her to get better. Donna has also grown much more confident in her body image. Rugby is for all shapes and sizes and she has found that her size and strength has a place, particularly in scrums. She now realises that she can be a big girl and be fit at the same time.

My eldest daughter started training with the ladies too and, although she has only been doing semi-contact "touch" rugby so far, she is looking forward to trying full contact.

My family and I were delighted to receive an award from Livingston Rugby Football club on Friday evening. The Steel Shield Award For Rugby Spirit was given to us as a family and it came as a bit of a surprise to us all (some people managed very well to keep tight lipped about it, so well done to them). It makes me so happy that my family got this together. Some of the reasons cited for us getting the award include that we donate art and photography to the club and volunteer our time. The real winner here was Donna by taking that decision to push (and keep pushing) herself way out of her comfort zone and feel better for it.

So if you see that we've volunteered again as photographers, fundraisers (using art), car park attendants, kitchen volunteers, bouncy castle supervisers or anything else at the club, it's to say thanks for what the club has helped us to achieve.

From all the McInnes family to Livingston Rugby Football Club, thank you.

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