I’m not sure when Clinton advisor James Carville used the term “The economy stupid” in a private meeting discussing the 3 main things Clinton should campaign on, he thought much about it but it got out there. I think it’s great, it’s a great term that makes it clear: what you should focus on is usually very obvious.
Maybe this is a point where grass roots rugby slightly differs from the higher leagues where the rugby is taken for granted and the focus is on results. If you pay players and have big sponsors, the money and team will probably be there as long as you win more than you lose. It’s not the same for us, we have a little more room to fall and rise a league or two without it really affecting us. Of course if we were getting beat week in week out it would have an impact on how potential players saw us, and winning every week would no doubt help but as we have spent almost 2 decades floating between the 4 Surrey leagues it doesn’t have the same feel as it would higher up.
We have been guilty of it, pressuring for results, judging the club by its results. Players like to win and winning players are happy players and happy players stay where they are, so surely it’s the thing that matters, but it doesn’t matter, not really. I love us winning, I want us to win every week, I want to ensure we do all we can with our limited means to help, of course I do, I’m not part of the “It’s the taking part that counts, everyone gets a medal” brigade, that attitude could never work in senior rugby. What I mean is that we can leave the focus on results to the coaches and the team, the club needs to focus on other things and the main thing is the Rugby. Focussing on making rugby available to all, making our club available and engaging, growing rugby at all levels and doing whatever we can to make it easy for people to try it and then supporting them.
Focusing on the rugby means every decision you make as a club has that in mind. There may be opportunities that will give the club some lovely shiny things, and improve the club but will it support the growth of Rugby at the club? There are a 101 things that can and will help of course, from nice changing rooms and a good supportive atmosphere to even a good selection of ale on tap, all of this can help and if you can have it all then great. The problem of course is few grass roots clubs can do any of those things and that’s where the focus on rugby is so important. How does this grow our rugby club, how does this engage people in rugby. Sometimes, decisions can leave the membership scratching their heads. “We’d really like new showers but apparently we’ve spent our money on someone we’ve never heard of to teach rugby in local schools” Maybe the showers aren’t that bad and it would be nice to update them and we we can try in a couple of years but having 30 new members of the juniors would be so much better long term.
Being quite an old club, most of us understand that the important thing is that we are here for another 150 years and pretty much every member will support something to build our future even if it means we go without today, we all imagine our ancient selves sitting in the bar 30-40 years from now and the idea that by then the club has disappeared is just not entertained. So we put up with things, we understand that if on occasion we have money then that has to be spent on ensuring our future and our future is firmly tied to local people wanting to play rugby for SCRFC.
Above all our club should be a place where you can come, play rugby enjoy the bar and be the place in your life where you are solely judged on how much you put in to the club (ability to play rugby is pretty optional at our level.) A place where you gain friends from all walks of life and are accepted as equal to everyone else.