Sports that shouldn’t be played in the summer, from “Things I found in the back of my head”

Sports that shouldn’t be played in the summer, from “Things I found in the back of my head”

Sometimes I wonder why certain sports are played at certain times of the year. Specifically I wonder about winter sports. Did someone out there just one cold and wet winter day look outside and say:

"Hmmm I want to go play outside but I have no reason, I know what, I'll create a sport which is played in the winter and then I'll have an excess to play in the cold, windy, wet rain and no one will think I'm mad!"

Perhaps we should have locked the noody up and saved ourselves all the numbness of winter sport.

Now having said that, I did discover the reason why certain sports are played in the Winter. It was a stunning summer day – warm, dry and just the wrong sort of day to play sport. Let me tell you the story.

It would have been Saturday, 24 February 2007. When I think of the perfect day to be outside in the Sun, that day was it. The birds were out and loving it, the sun was full and warm, there might have been a cloud in the sky somewhere but I couldn't find it. The grass was in between a green and brown colour. It was changing between the two, it had either been brown and with a little water it was coming back green, or the beautiful Sun was taking its toll and sucking the green from it. Either way the ground was hard and perfect for a picnic. In fact I watched as several people arrived in their jandles, singlet, picnic basket, and proceeded to bang a sun umbrella into the very solid dirt by the edge of the sports field.

I saw a small group of men looking very unhappy near the sheds over to the left of the field. They stood out from everyone else with their downcast expression amidst those setting up umbrellas and laying out picnic blankets.

"Hayds" one of the sombre group called out. I picked up my kit bag and moved over in their direction.

"Can you believe how good today is, look at that sun. I'm sweating already. This is going to be interesting"

Another piped up "I brought a huge pot of Vaseline if you boys want"

The group of me all moved into the sheds to get changed. 15 minutes later we were out in the Sun again running around the outside of the sports ground doing our warm up. Today was certainly going to be a fast game. The pitch was as tough as I've ever played on. My turf shoes slide underneath me as I rounded a corner of the field; there wasn't enough grass for the blades to grip, and the dirt underneath was smooth and compact.

More people arrived to watch the game. As more blankets were laid out on the sidelines, we pulled our socks up as high as we could. Spectators applied Sun Screen to their arms, and we spread more Vaseline over our knees. Someone had said that Vaseline helps when you hit the ground; it's meant to stop you getting grazes. I honestly wasn't sure anything was going to help if you hit the concrete like earth. Spectators started to remove layers of clothing as the day got hotter, we all tried to pull our shorts down to cover as much of our legs as possible.

The peep talk was over and we were now positioned on the field waiting for the whistle to go. The referee checked with both captains where ready, and the whistle sounded.

Our mid-summer Rugby game started.

Now it's not that we didn't want to play Rugby. Indeed we were all very pumped to play. It's playing a full contact sport on a concrete like surface that is the problem. It was about 30 seconds into the game when the forwards first hit the deck that blood started to flow from knees and elbows. No spot of exposed skin was safe. Actually it didn't matter what was covering you, if you came in contact with the earth, chances are you will get a good skin burn.

As I recall, we won that game. It was a hottest, sweatiest, and bloodiest game I've played. It was during this game that I revisited my thought about the crazy man that said Rugby should played in the rain. I've since decided that he wasn't so crazy after all, and perhaps he was rather insightful, or maybe had the same experience I did. Whatever the reason, I now understand and appreciate why Rugby is a winter sport.

16 comments (Add your own)

1. Scotty Donaldson wrote:
Most winter sports require far more physical speed and strength and are largely more the contact sports side of things. Sports like rugby and football. Because the weather is cold, people are required to move around to keep warm. When the weather is warm they are better off playing more leisurely cricket and tennis and both of these sports and most other summer sports don't require physical contact. I am still puzzled about wearing long pants in summer for cricket and bowls, yet shorts in winter when it is colder, but that is another story!

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