Wow, what a year, oh what a year!
I think most of our hearts sank yesterday albeit expectantly, that we are for now required to follow a more restricted way of life.
Looking back on 2020, it will certainly be a year to remember for many reasons. It seems a long time ago in March after a thrilling local Darby and Sunday full of age grade games we entered the part of the year that will no doubt be remembered! We are all too familiar with what we have not been able to do but let us consider what we have achieved and where our future challenges lie and how we can make it the most enjoyable experience when we can return to Rugby. Life & socialising became more online and home based, during this time our connectivity with each other and as a club grew, when we return to activity, we hope to utilise these as far more effective ways to communicate and coordinate what we do. Keeping each other positive and connected has become a deliberate action, creating a resilience to difficulties.
We faced the challenge of maintaining ourselves as an association of people and thanks to everyone's efforts we are still here even though we cannot currently be together. Early on we saw Quiz's, guess the year, spot the ball the hustlers with a walking challenge. Lockdown 2 hit home hard the real threat that was developing to us, Acklam Acktive brought together things people had been doing through restrictions, maintaining physical & mental health and at the same time ensuring financially we survived. Key people in making this happen were Andy Dunny & Dave Dawson (Doggy) but I am sure they will be the first to say that the real thanks goes to those who joined in or donated. From sponsored activity, business donating services, donating saved drinking money to just heart touching giving thank you!
Thank you to those involved in activity & appeal videos, Kerr star of the small screen, Malcolm (hope you have recovered!) Age grade stars and our challenge videos from stepster Chris Walker!
Adapting to change has become what we do, and when we have been able to be active together, I must highlight the work and time that Len Taylor has put in. We have always moved at a considered pace, sometimes it is possible to react on the day and implement new opportunities, other times our responsibility to all must be contemplate and postpone till when its more appropriate.
We hosted our AGM online for the first time, where after 17 1/2 years Ray Kelly stepped down as chair. Truly a remarkable achievement and Ray continues to be central to supporting the club as league contact and facilitating the supporters draw. During a period of reduced on field activity and socialising, the new committee have been diligently reviewing what we do and planning our future. I would like to thank them for their effort and time invested on our behalf, non-more so than our secretary Darren Springhall who has put to good use his professional background. As we do resume there is plenty requiring attention, when we ask for assistance it is not always about being good with a screwdriver, professional skills are required as well as interpersonal skill, have you seen the power of a greeting and a smile!?
Our coaches, when we have been able to have activity have taken on additional roles in managing covid secure enjoyable training & activity. Extra time spent planning sessions and preparing equipment in an unseen thing by our players.
We are at the early stages of an exciting partnership with The Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust. Strong Age grade rugby participation and enjoyment is key to a thriving healthy rugby club (Players & parents), we must place increasing emphasis and invest more energy into this.
People matter (hence our current restrictions) and our Rugby Family at Acklam Matter. As we head into 2021 unsure of when we can resume, I am sure the spirit that has been generated in the face of difficulty will expressed when we can roll up our sleeves up and get on with our purpose, playing and enjoying Rugby together at Acklam Rugby Club. Let us maintain our positive attitude and speech, even when we find it difficult too. This does not just lift individuals but the whole club and is highly constructive.
I have named and thanked only a few, however the list is extensive and growing of those assisting and deserving thanks. I would like thank Isla for her understanding and support of time that it takes away from a relationship & Family to assist with the club and aware of the many partners and families who make a similar sacrifice, thank you, its highly appreciated by us all.
We are mindful of those we have lost, and a missed opportunity to mark their passing, I am sure this will be a focus when we are able to, and our thoughts are with those families. To several members who have endured additional difficulties who have been a beacon of positivity and example in overcoming &perseverance - thank you, you have kept us strong!
I wish you all the best for 2021 (certainly better than 2020, but it has not all been bad, and we have learned a few things)
I look forward to seeing you all when we can and relish the opportunity to work alongside each other in bringing back together our rugby family and hopefully extending it!
To your best of health