Last week Tuesday, I had the privilege of photographing a Women’s Day Breakfast that was hosted by the Chris Burger and Petro Jackson Players’ Fund to celebrate the women in rugby. The event was held in the bowls clubhouse at the Kelvin Grove Sports Club, in Newlands.
For those who don’t know, the organisation helps rugby players (at all levels) who have sustained life changing injuries on the field by providing them with life-long support. This comes in various guises and may include things like wheel chairs, hospital beds, financial assistance, etc. I found out about this organisation through social media and was given the opportunity to work at this particular event which was held in honour of the women who are often behind the scenes; supporting the players we love and see on the field.
Apart from the beautiful space, decor and lovely food, what I will remember most about this event is how it changed ideas I held about:
- National and provincial sports and;
- What actually constitutes a sports team.
National and Provincial Sports
So if you know me, you’ll know that I am not big on watching sport. I’m active and may play sport but I don’t often have the discipline to sit and watch it. After hearing from the ladies of rugby such as Anne-Lee Murray (PR Manager for the Springboks) and Rene Naylor (Springbok Physiotherapist) about exactly what it takes to get into shape for the season, for example, or the logistical preparations for the Bok squad – like travelling a year before a World Cup to test the food and hotel beds in the host nation – I realised the hard work and dedication required to play at that level. The players aren’t just a bunch of hot boys, running around with a ball on the field. Professional sports is exactly that, a serious profession, and the national players perform an incredible act of service to our country.
What constitutes a sports team
I know that many of us think of the ‘team’ as the people we see on the field, but sports teams rely on the communities around them and each member is held up by the ‘community’ they have at home. Who runs these homes? The women. The wives. The mothers. The women create the environment for sportsmen to be able to head out onto the field…emotionally, psychologically and physically prepared. Women shop for the food and get the kids out of the way so the men can rest or train. I thought of things like the typical fights which happen in a marriage. I’m almost certain you can’t just address things when you feel like it, especially not before a big game. How difficult must that be? Shows like WAGS really do these incredible women a disservice. I’m sure there are perks but definitely not without the muddy, painful work that very few get to see.
I definitely left there with a new sense of respect for these women and I’ve definitely been encouraged to be more strategic about taking up issues with my husband. So, to the women of rugby who might be reading this post, thank you for all your hard work. We acknowledge all the work and sacrifices. You are queens for pulling it off so graciously! Happy Women’s Month!