Hi, Eirin and Anna here, also known as the «Le Norvegesi».
On the 6th of September, after being in Padova for just one week, we stumbled upon the Scambio Di Lingue team during their practice. Lost as we were, an eager coach, Ian convinced us to join the practice. Never having touched a rugby ball before, we were terrified when after only 3 more trainings Ian said “you should join us for a tournament on Saturday!”
Playing in a tournament sounded like something way out of our league - but yet again, after a little persuasion, we decided to join.
Not knowing the basic rules for touch rugby, the nerves for Saturday quickly kicked in. Luckily with every concern we shared with the team, the answer from Ian was that we would learn it all during the matches, and that that was what the tournament was for.
Saturday morning, we were sat in the car on our way to Villadose. The feelings were definitely mixed between fear and honour. There was a huge fear of the unknown, and messing up for the team, but at the same time we felt honoured to be there.
Though the seconds before the game were terrifying, during the game we felt taken care of. Even through all our faults, Ian made sure to stay by our side during all the games screaming out to us when to put down the ball or when we were in the wrong place.
Our teammates would cheer us on for the smallest achievements and give us pep-talks and tips in between the matches. Not only was our own team and coach super helpful, but the referees and other teams made sure to speak English to us and guide us when needed.
The tournament ended with our first ever Terzo Tempo. This fulfilled the experience, feeling like a part of a bigger Touch Rugby community. Enjoying food, drinks and people who already felt like our friends.
What Ian had said was correct, we learned so much from the tournament, and gained a greater understanding of the sport that we wouldn’t have obtained from just practices. It sparked a motivation in us, and now several weeks and 2 tournaments later, we are still here.
Scambio Di Lingue is truly something special. It wasn’t the sport alone that encouraged us to stay in the team, but the people. It’s an inclusive group of boys and girls in all ages from several different nationalities. Coming to Italy for our exchange, we expected to meet many new faces, but we didn’t expect to meet this diverse group of people that really make Italy feel a little bit more like home.
Being able to attend tournaments like this one is extremely motivating, but it’s all the small things in Scambio that make us so grateful to be here. There is always someone there to give us a lift to practice, lend us necessary equipment and help us when our Italian isn’t adequate.
Thank you Scambio Di Lingue for welcoming us into your family, and we can’t wait for the many tournaments to come.