On 12-13 May two athletes from Otago traveled to Christchurch to join the Christchurch team to compete in round one of the Wheelchair Rugby championships.
I was one of those athletes.
I have only been playing rugby since last year so I really enjoyed the experience and learned so much.
Before the tournament we were given the opportunity to join the Christchurch team for one of their weekly training sessions which was a great way to meet the team before competing and learn some new drills that could be incorporated into our own training back in Dunedin.
The tournament itself was an awesome experience.
Initially I had to go through the classification process to determine my playing eligibility and point score on court which I found fascinating, and I was really happy when I was told that based on my classification I am eligible to play internationally if I one day get to that level.
I was pretty nervous to begin with but after a few adjustments to my chair and once I started playing it was amazing. Everyone was super helpful and willing to answer any questions I had and teach me knew techniques and rules. Even players from other teams realised that I was a newbie and were giving me tips!
It was a hugely supportive environment with a healthy dose of competitiveness and the feeling of scoring your first goal (and all the rest) in a regional tournament against guys who have been playing for years was also pretty incredible.
Before the tournament I had only ever seen photos and videos, and in my opinion, they don’t do the game justice, you learn so much more from actually being there watching and experiencing it first-hand. So, getting to actually be there and watch games in person was awesome.
Also, having the opportunity to play against some on the best players in the country and even just watching other the other teams was amazing. I was in awe of some of the players and hope to be that good one day.
After five games over two days I was exhausted and sore but it was a great feeling.
I can’t wait to for round 2 in Palmerston North next weekend. Hopefully one day little old Dunedin will be able to enter its own team