If you feel like you totally lose your partner every February/March, and welcome the likes of Jonathan Davies, Alfie and that blonde off Scrum V into your front room at every opportunity, then you’re not alone.
Every man in my life has been obsessed with egg chasing. It’s been drummed into me as ‘the norm’ since I was a little girl. You’d think that I’d also be obsessed with the game…well I’m not. So shoot me! A number of my friends will be surprised to hear me say that, as I’m always up for going to watch it over the pub if invited, but in fact, I’m just good at pretending to love it in fear of being a social pariah; A skill I gained from my amazing mum, who’s adopted this approach for the last 50 years!
My mum is the ultimate Rugby Widow. For years she spent weeks alone whilst my dad Tudor, jetted all over the world working as the team Physiotherapist for the Welsh Rugby Union.
She lovingly supported him in this job for over 10 years. He would often be away for six weeks at a time in exotic locations such as Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, whilst mum stayed at home to look after the family and run her pub. Mum’s reward would be that she got to go to all of the home games with the rugby WAG’s, dig out her fur coat, get glammed up and go to the team post-match dinners at the Angel Hotel, which was the hotel of choice back in the 80’s!
Did she love the game? probably not, however she was the master of pretending to be interested. This inherently kept the peace in our household.
Fast forward quite a few years and I’m now the rugby widow. When my son was young, he played junior rugby. Jon got roped into coaching, then trained to become a referee. our social life seemed to revolve around the rugby club, which seems to be the central hub of any Welsh valley’s town. I would dutifully stand on the touch line every Sunday morning screaming my son’s name every time he touched the ball. The competition between parents was immense, every parent believed their child was going to be the next big star in international rugby. Me? I couldn’t give a toss, I just wanted him to be happy. Our son Ellis never actually liked playing rugby that much. I think he just played as he thought it was expected of him. My dad, would of course, come and watch him at every opportunity, until Ellis’s eyesight became so poor that he could no longer see the ball in the air! Selfishly, I was relieved to have my Sunday’s back!
“I could waltz around dressed head-to-toe as a Victoria’s Secrets model complete with angel wings, and he’d tell me to move out of the way!”
My Husband, Jon, has never stopped being a ref…he screams at the telly at every opportunity, advising the TMO’s on how to make a decision, woefully informing players “you’ve knocked it on you carthorse”. This routine begins in September and ends in April/May. The difference being, that during the Six Nations, he normally goes out to watch the big games. He’ll also record the game, so he can watch it again as he gets too pissed to truly remember the detail. As a rugby widow, I have to endure him rewatching the game, and also the highlights and discussion on Scrum V on the Sunday. I know I’m being precious, but I’d actually like to spend a bit of time with my other half on the weekend, however, he’s otherwise engaged! I could waltz around in front of him dressed head-to-toe like a Victoria’s Secrets model, complete with angel wings, and he’d tell me to move out the way of the telly.
Somehow, rugby also seems to intrude on our holidays…
On a romantic mini break to a traditional little town in Spain, he scoured the local tapas bars trying to find somewhere that may be showing the Wales v South Africa game. Of course, no one could really understand our broken Spanglish, so he came up with a solution. We’d jump on a train and travel the couple of hours to Benidorm, find a ‘Taffy’s’ bar and watch it there. That was the first time I’ve been to Benidorm, and will never step foot in that puke encrusted, fluffy cowboy hat embellished hell hole again!
Then there was Bali 2017…The British Lions tour of New Zealand. We Spent the second day of our trip in a sports bar, that was kind of fun as we got talking to some Kiwi’s and the Lions actually beat the All Blacks. Jon was determined to watch the next test, and spent the afternoon of the first day of our Scuba Diving trip desperately attempting to stream the game on his laptop. The only issue he had was that remote Indonesian villages don’t have the best internet. when he managed to get a stream, he spent the afternoon with his ear buds in manically whooping at his laptop. The hotel staff and guests proceeded to avoid us for the rest of the trip!
Now a look at the near future…
Next week I have the pleasure of attending a posh evening dinner reception. Yes, its rugby! We’re going to preview dinner for the Wales and England game. This evening is hosted by Jonathan Davies and Will Carling, I’d love to say this invitation materialised due to us being close personal friends of the hosts or that we’re ‘big’ in rugby circles, but no. It’s simply as a result of Jon getting shitfaced at another rugby themed dinner and going a bit mad at the silent auction. We’re also the proud owners of a four course dinner for two at Gordon Ramsey in Belgravia. Thankfully he was outbid on the Geraint Thomas signed photo!
“So, rugby widows…you are not alone in your pain. Stay strong sisters, only a few weeks to go!”
I made the mistake of booking our trip to London to have our dinner next weekend…Yep, the weekend of the Wales v England game. My bad! I’ve also booked us tickets to see Phantom of the Opera which starts very shortly after the game ends. The guilt ridden me has been frantically researching sports pubs in Covent Garden so we can fit it all in! (sorry, not sorry!)
So, rugby widows…you are not alone in your pain. Stay strong sisters, only a few weeks to go!
Are you a sports widow? What’s your survival tips?