One of the things I’ve always wanted for Lucy’s future is to feel a sense of being part of her community. Initially when she was very little I thought this might be by going to the local primary school. As she got older and we visited schools it became clear that a special school placement in local special school would be a good place and that the school is close enough to home that she has time for other community activities.
In the past I’d never really seen watching the rugby at Batley as being anything to do with community, I saw it more as an activity, something to do. That has changed this year and it’s changed because of Lucy, and not just because of the ‘big’ event’s of meeting players and going on the pitch. Lucy is pretty obviously different so people noticed her when we started going to matches. When you go somewhere with Lucy it’s pretty hard to blend in. People were so helpful, so friendly right from the outset. We felt it was somewhere we belonged and where we were wanted. In fact that’s not just been the experience at mount pleasant, the feeling I got of belonging in a wider RL community has come through at other grounds too when we’ve been to away games.
The other thing that’s made me appreciate the community is some of the events that the club put on. A few weeks ago there was the ‘Jo Cox Memorial Game’. Jo Cox was the member of Parliament for Batley and Spen. In June 2016 Jo was murdered while working in her constituency. There was a curtain raiser game with Team Colostomy UK and the British Asian Rugby Association. The local Scouts were making hot dogs and burgers. It was a really fun afternoon. If you were wondering the match score was Batley 14 York 8.
This weekend (5th and 6th August 2023) is the club’s annual Pink Weekend in aid of Breast Cancer research. It includes a festival of rugby with the Batley GIrls and Batley Boys youth teams playing fixtures as well as the Bulldogs Championship fixture against Bradford Bulls. Unfortunately we can’t make it this weekend but I have my pink bucket hat ready to wear for the weekend anyway.
Again I find community, connection and belonging as theme’s that drive my actions. Like I said I’d not expected to find community in coming to matches again and honestly if it wasn’t for Lucy I don’t think I would have experienced it the same way. Someone in the supporters group made a comment about meeting Lucy which sums up how she draws herself into community with people ‘the atmosphere surrounding her and that smile on her face… you rock young lady’.