I love watching international rugby, and even some Heineken Cup club rugby on TV, but I have no great liking for the culture that surrounds the game. However, since our daughter Catriona took up playing the game seriously at Lancaster University there’s one particular feature of the LUWRUFC culture that we not only like, we would like to see it adopted by churches. They call it ‘Match Win, Match Fine.’
It goes like this: at the end of the match, regardless of how it has gone, they meet in the bar. Nothing new there then! But after a bit of chat and banter they start with one player and in turn they go round the whole group, even those who didn’t play. Everyone has the opportunity to say something about each player – they call a good thing ‘Match Win’ and a not so good thing ‘Match Fine’ and preface their comments by saying ‘Match Win/Fine.’
After their last home match of the season, Jane and I had the honour of sharing in one of these sessions courtesy of a donation of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. We were so moved by the obvious sense of care and mutual support as time after time appreciative things were said. The ‘Match Fine’ comments were usually said to raise a laugh. I was glad to have the opportunity to give a bit of encouragement to the whole group, because for many of them the camaraderie has been an important element in surviving the difficult times of student life. ‘The world is not like this,’ is how I started. People don’t tell you how good you are or say what they appreciate about your contribution, so keep this up, even when you leave student life.
It wasn’t a long ‘speech’ but it said something I felt it was important to say to express our thanks for their part in our family life, and to give them some memory of an older person saying, ‘This is a great thing to do. Keep it up.’ I could see one or two sets of eyes welling up with tears as I spoke, and I was thankful that what I was saying seemed to be getting home.
A sense of belonging to a loving community with people actually saying good things to your face is something we all need in life. So often in church life there is a lack of community and appreciation, but I’m glad to say that at Priestfield I sense it is getting deeper with an increasing sense of hospitality. But we still have a way to go to be as good as LUWRUFC.