At my first rugby match, I saw grills going, burgers and brats being prepared, and I thought, “Wow!” I have hit the jackpot and discovered the sport with the best concession stand! Ooops… at the next match, I discovered my mistake: the food was for the players, coaches and referees, not the fans. A quick trip to McDonald’s solved my food problem for my girls.
One of the best things about rugby is that after the match, no matter how hard it was or who won, the home team hosts a “social”. They provide drinks, snacks, food, etc. to both teams, home and guest. Following proper etiquette, the guest team is served first.
Parents new to rugby might be overwhelmed by this thought of having to prepare food for perhaps as many as 90-100 people on an evening or weekend day. Some parents sign up for rugby and have no idea there is something called a social. For parents who are new, it is the job of the coaches and veteran parents to teach the newbies about the peripheral aspects of the sport.
For a social, our team provides drinks; a “main” course – hotdogs, sub sandwiches, etc.; fruit – bananas (great for after rugby matches), oranges/Clementines, grapes, apples, watermelon; veggies – carrots; protein bars of some sort; and, of course, cookies. After a tough match on the pitch, these kids deserve a cookie!
We’ve found that cutting bananas in half makes them much more appealing. I don’t know why, but an entire banana is somehow intimidating! Coring and cutting apples also helps – they’re easier to eat and more appealing (again, not an entire apple, lol); if you have oranges, cutting those also helps. After the kids fill their plates and find a seat, we often go around with our extra fruit and encourage them to take more :).
Our boys coach this year came up with a brilliant idea: each home game is assigned 1-2 Food Coordinators who are responsible for deciding the main course, and compiling an email to send to all the parents requesting the sides. Our parents have truly stepped up and we have had absolutely no problem fulfilling these needs. Each home game also has 3-4 Food Helpers who assist the Food Coordinators helping to prepare the tables with the food, getting the drinks and fruit ready, and making sure the main course is ready to go on time. The Food Coordinators generally check with the coaches of the teams to find out when they would like their first match players to eat, usually after the first match for players that have played, but that could be different for some coaches.
Another mom and I met this year for our girls team and came up with the “Master Rugby Food Tub” – if we tried, we could probably come up with another name for this, lol! Here’s what we decided should go in it, as well as things you should have at every home game:
Paper plates, napkins, wet wipes (for dirty rugby hands) and maybe hand sanitizer – if I am in the food line, I don’t let kids take a plate until they take a wipe! The girls LOVE the wipes, and most of the boys, but not surprisingly, they are more apt to insist they don’t need one. I think otherwise. 🙂
Paper towels, couple of dry towels (for rainy days), plastic knives/forks/spoons – you never know
Cutting board/knife, cheap plastic serving bowls, plastic tablecloths, trash bags (4 large per game)
Tongs and plastic scoopers (i.e., for little things like Chex Mix or Goldfish)
In addition, for each home match, you will need tables and possibly a tent, especially if there is a chance of rain. Think “camping” when you prepare for these socials, and you’ll be fine!
The best part of the social is that the kids get an opportunity to have fellowship after a tough rugby match. Rugby is physical, and it’s such a joy to see them talking with each other, often kids from different teams, after the game. Parents also mingle, and this past Sunday, after a very tough playoff loss for our girls, our girls’ parents had the pleasure of meeting a father from the opposing school whose daughter had just been confirmed in the morning at church. He was new to rugby, and was truly enjoying all aspects of it. I got to chat with a friend in the sport, even got a hug from him as he was on the sidelines, coaching his team (our opponent) AND touch judging at the same time (more on touch judging later).
That, my friends, is the beauty and blessing of this sport!