I am grateful to my home town and my old school for getting me involved in rugby - first as a spectator and then as a player. It has been a life-long interest.
My Dad took me to watch Keighley Rugby League at Lawkholme (only 10 minutes from home)in the late 40s/ early 50s. I understood the 13 aside game and reckoned it superior to football. I soon picked up on some of the terms ( scrimmage; play the ball; man-in-five; ) and the invective ("steam-pigs; footballers labourers" etc). I knew there was a team called the Keighlians and that they had 15 players. I could never get a proper explanation from my Dad as to what they did with the extra 2 players - except that there were too many players on the field to have a good game. He was an old Keighlian and had played local rugby league and Bramley had once offered him terms - so he was no stranger to both codes.Introduction to Union at KBGS was a slow process. We spent the whole of the first term before we had a "proper" game - practising passing, dribbling, kicking etc etc.Eventually I played in a few of the school teams and came to prefer the game I played to the game I had first watched. Today I watched the RL Cup Final - and then Scotland v the Springboks. My Keighley roots are in League but the Union match had more periods of open play and free-running than the RL Final - which wasn't the case 50/60 years ago. One danger I foresee for both games is that they will become more like the American game - already we have dummy runners who come close to being blockers and the video confusion over a touchdown will lead to a score being awarded for simply crossing the line.