I knew coming into ADEDAR and starting rugby in Mozambique would have it’s challenges. I also knew it would be even more challenging to get girls to play in Mozambique. Rugby is new. Rugby is seen as too aggressive. Parents don’t want their daughters to play for reasons of their own. But these so-called “reasons” need to be tossed out the window!
November 11, 2017 was a big day for ADEDAR. It almost marks 2 years on the ground in Mozambique developing rugby. It was a big day because it was a day for the girls, a day for the females, a proud and impressive display of female strength, and I don’t necessarily refer to physical strength here. I was just so proud of how the girl’s played. I, honestly, enjoyed the games more than when the guys play… but don’t tell the guys that. . . I am not suppose to play favorites!!!
The day started off a little rocky… The weather said it was suppose to rain. It was sprinkling when I woke up and got to the field. Something a Mozambican said once, and it holds pretty true: “Mozambicans are more scared of rain than cars.” What that means is many don’t leave the house if it’s raining. This definitely made me worried for the girls to actually show up to the tournament now that it was sprinkling…
Teams were suppose to show up at 8:00 am. Coaches meeting at 8 am. Ref meeting right after. Teams warm up, and the first game started at 9:00 am. Well, it didn’t quite happen like that. For a little while, I thought I was only going to have enough girls for 3 teams… When on the schedule I had 7 teams for Under 18 and 4 for Under 14.
But then like magic, the players and coaches showed up. We started the games about 30 minutes late, and had to mix the schedule around just a bit due to 2 teams not showing up. The girls were ready to play, and they brought it!
We had about 53 girls playing throughout the day. Nine coaches, eight fans, to make a total of 70 people involved for the day. Some of my favorite moments:
* When I was reffing one of the games, one of the girls got the ball and she ran forward, but she ran with a scream that made us all laugh.
* One girl who had a small asthma attack was begging and begging to be able to play again. I loved her passion!
* I didn’t see it, but apparently a maul had been formed at some point, and a girl came and grabbed another girl’s feet and basically put her in a horizontal position in the air. Yes, she received what we called the “Joke of the Day.”
* The organization on the field, running loops and passing the ball through the hands. And can I talk about the tackles????
* The camaraderie and family I saw. We had some very new girls to the mix, but everyone sat together and talked to each other and encouraged each other throughout the whole day.
* There was definitely some random dancing on and off the field.
To say the least, the rocky start was nothing. The day turned out great. Speed Mustangs (aka Laulane) got first place in the under 18 category, and Hulene (aka 12 de Outobro) got first place in the under 14 category. Prizes included sneakers that were donated and other random rugby clothes. And I can’t forget the Jokes of the Day and the Stars of the Day. Bring it on for next year! We are definitely doing more of these! #yougogirl