OpinionTuesday, April 1, 2014
A true rugby guy
One of the distinctive features of the game of rugby is the sense of debt players have. Those who have enjoyed playing rugby usually feel the need of paying back all that they’ve received through the game. Beyond the technical and tactical teachings, rugby is necessarily a sport of camaraderie and friendship. It needs to know how to share, respect and work as a team. All of these are key components of the fabric of rugby.
The huge growth of the game in recent years has been in no short measure thanks to the help of thousands of former players who work tirelessly teaching to the next generation the values and lessons of rugby.
There are many roles and positions within rugby. The best is, needless to say, that of a player. Nothing equals the buzz of playing, sharing a training session, a game, tours or after-matches. Those are fleeting moments that last a lifetime. When the body sends clear messages that the end of the road has arrived, there are new roles to keep one involved.
Many love coaching. Former players make great coaches: their vision comes from many years playing and learning the tricks of the trade. Coaching is the closest to playing.
Yet, the game evolves in such a fast way that coaches need more and more time to be up-to-date and when the game is too fast to keep in touch, then it is time to become a club official. Clubs are units in which the need to push together is clear and where there is always a role to be played.
These same clubs need to find representation at a higher level. They then usually send their finest either to work at provincial or national level. You can take an official from a club, but you will never take the club from an official. At times, as with new UAR President Carlos Araujo, the number of roles they fulfil shows what an important part of his life rugby is.
There is a common thread with the last few UAR Presidents: they’ve all been well known personalities at their clubs. Of the ones I met, the late Carlos Tozzi was always at San Martín, Lino Pérez a fixture whenever Banco Nación played, Felipe Ferrari is still seen at Los Matreros, Lucho Gradín in Belgrano, Miguel Servera in Olivos, Gringo Perasso seems to be always at SIC, the late Alejandro Risler was among the first to greet you in Atlético del Rosario; the same with Porfirio Carreras at Alumni and Cacho Castillo in Los Tarcos.
Negro Araujo became the new UAR President yesterday. He is one of those quickly associated with his club, Duendes, in Rosario. He played for them for 24 seasons, was a coach 17, became an official in 1972 and is still there in the club’s Committee. His four boys and one daughter are active Duendes’ players at both rugby and hockey. Twice a UAR Vice President (2001-2005 and 2012-2014), he has now taken the helm. Araujo loves the game and, as those who came before him, is a true rugby guy.