It has long been my aim here at the Rugby Magazine to be a force for good in the world, the world needs it after all. The long hard question has always been how we can make a substantial difference. I’ve always believed that rugby is a means to saving one’s life, providing physical and mental health benefits, and providing the companionship and camaraderie that give us meaning and purpose.
Rugby however, is experiencing one of its toughest periods in recent memory (though that's not to take away from the fact that we all are!). For those of us who have jobs to go home to after a game on a Saturday, we can shake our fists at the decision to close down lower level leagues, but there are those for whom rugby is not just their passion, but also their job. There has never been a more anxious time to be involved in the sport.
They give themselves, week on week, to something that might chew them up and spit them out at any moment; their time in the arena could be over given injury, or currently, cuts in salary, or even job losses.
The strain that this puts on people is huge. Estimates suggest that one in four people experience some form of mental health problem each year in the UK, and Rugby is no exception. Add to that life changing injuries delivered by the sport, and the pressure that top level expectations deliver, and you can understand the suffering that goes on in the background. By rugby's very nature, we are shielded from the emotional and mental stress that is placed on those shoulders because of the physical demands of the sport.
There's more to it than that though: poor mental health doesn’t just affect those who experience it, but can extend to those around them. Partners, children, friends and family can all suffer. I’ve always believed that those who have good done unto them, will do good to others. You’ve got to start somewhere. I can make a difference to one person’s life, and hopefully that ripple affect can save countless lives.
In this, we can all make a difference.
We love rugby, we are after all the Rugby Magazine. Our fantasy was built as a tool to engage and grow the game of rugby, and right now rugby needs our help. Each week through the season, players in the Premiership are delivering their performances and driving our fantasy. Our standings are based on the shoulders of their industry.
We want to give back to them. We want to do something for them.
This season, we’ve teamed up with Restart, the official charity of the Rugby Players' Association, and will donate 50% of every upgrade within our Premiership fantasy game. We’re aiming to raise enough money to pay for their confidential counselling service for six months, but with your help, I’d love to cover it for the full year. In this, we have the chance to give back to those who give so much to us.
There are some amazing prizes to be won this season too: everyone who purchases an upgrade and helps us support Restart will be entered into a draw to win a signed England shirt; the overall winner of the league will win a signed shirt from the club of their choice; and, we've got some fantastic monthly prizes lined up from players' businesses too. Plenty to play for! (small print: have a gander at our T&Cs)
The thought that the Rugby Magazine can be a force for good in even one person’s world makes me proud, but with your help, we can truly make a difference. So jump onto our fantasy, download our app, and invite everyone you know!
For more information about Restart, or to make a direct donation, please visit their website: http://restartrugby.org.uk