Whilst the RWC is in full swing, many amateur clubs continue to host and play games up and down the country, and in many cases, what makes these games happen are an army of volunteers who give us their time, at their own expense, to keep rugby happening at grassroots level.
One of rugbyunited's followers and I where talking at the weekend, and I was shocked to hear about their recent experience. I asked him if he would write a few words....
"Bad day at the office yesterday.
Neck injury and hospitalisation of a player meant both our coaches were otherwise engaged. I was drafted in as an emergency coach, line judge and water boy.
Mid-way through the first half I was asked by the Ref whether a try had been scored as he was un-sighted. I'm not a line judge, not a coach, not a player, just a dad. I panicked, I didn't really understand what I ought to say. Was it s try? - "I didn't see" I said.
I did see, I just couldn't process what I saw. Did he ground it? Was he off-side? Any number of things.
Hindsight says I probably got it wrong. When I picked up the flag, I never expected to make decisions more complex than where a line out should be. I made a bad call I suspect.
My reward was a dogs abuse. An away match. 15 players on the pitch and me. No friendly face anywhere to be seen. The crowd, substitutes, coaching staff turned on me. "Cheat" rang out from all sides. The head coach inches from my face repeatedly bellowing "You're a cheat!"
Not somewhere I want to be again.
Spare a thought for volunteers! No matter how inept, no matter how out of our depth. We don't cheat.
Me, I'll never take the flag and volunteer again."
The person who wrote this wishes to remain anonymous, they are worried about a the return fixture and I personally wouldn't want teams getting in to witch hunts. But I certainly think we should all ensure our hard working volunteers are looked treated with RESPECT, after all, isn't that one of our rugby values??
Footnote - the photograph attached to this article was not related to this match, so the teams involved have no connection to this photograph or vice versa