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Running backwards? What? Why?

Through Dutch Eyes - A Scambio Newbie Experience

As an exchange student starting in a new city, I was hoping I could find a place where I could practise sports. So, when I came across this beginners training-session organized by ESN, I immediately marked it in my agenda with exclamation marks!

I am going to play touch rugby with people from all over the world! That must be amazing!

There was only one difficulty, I had never played rugby before and didn’t even know what Touch was. "I will figure it out," I thought. "How hard can it be?"

On that Sunday afternoon, I really enjoyed my introduction to touch. There was; running, learning new things, competition, laughing, helping, compliments and many other exciting things.

But, I also realised how difficult this sport was… All these rules, running backwards? What? Why?

After that day, I decided to keep going and join the team for the trainings.

I realized how talented all these people are, and that I still had so much to learn. But, with all the encouragement from the team and the trainers, I had small accomplishments every training.

Every exercise, every game, they would teach you something new, explaining parts that you didn’t understand yet, and giving advice, to help you over and over again. Because of this team, I was able to grow in this sport, slowly gaining more confidence.

I still felt like I did not fully understand the game yet, but then a friendly tournament was announced and Ian asked me if would like to play.

"!Uuuhh, if it is okay? Yes, I would like to!"

Before the tournament started I was scared, because every time I saw the team play, I realized, I still had so much to learn. Despite that, I was super excited and overall honoured that I was allowed to play my first game!

On this sunny Saturday morning, all my clothes were immediately covered in mud. Since the pitch was only mud, it didn't matter, we did some warm-up exercises and some revisions of the game.

Everyone was excited and happy to be on the pitch together, it was so nice to feel the team spirit, and that I could be a part of it.

During the first matches, my mind went from; help! What is going on...? to, okay I think, I see how it works... to, I can do this, I need to run faster and scream louder, and sometimes back to "help, what is going on…?" again.

When the following matches happened the game was still difficult, also the mud was not helping. But, the team worked together so well! I tried to do my best at my parts, still learning.

When the last game finished, I was sad that it was over, I wanted to continue this was so much fun!

Afterwards, everyone had some pasta and a beer in the tent. Every team was there, and although I could not understand Italian, I still felt very welcomed.

All the teams were just mixed together, and chatting. I didn’t feel like an outsider in a different country anymore, I realized that I was a sports player now, in this amazing international team.

After this day I went home really fulfilled. I realized that because of Touch rugby, I am getting to know all these focused, talented and open people, who share a passion for sports.

When I got home, the only thing that I could think of was; When would be my next opportunity to play?

The many nationalities of the Scambio di Lingue Touch Rugby Team
Mucking with the team shortly before my first ever game of touch rugby. That's me, second from the left!

Flying Dutch wingers ready to pounce!
All a bit easier when you have another Dutch girl playing wing!

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