In college, our coach always gathered the team in someone's living room or a hotel room before a big match and made us share what rugby meant to us. Things always got emotional as people laid bare their souls and talked about the transformation the sport catalyzed in their lives.
Well, I'm not in college anymore and I'm not even playing rugby at the moment, but I feel called to share what rugby means to me right now. I have been searching for months for the right words to express what rugby has meant to me lately, and I just can't find them. There is no way to measure in words what my rugby team has done for me. But I'll try.
One morning in November, as the Angels headed to Texas for nationals (without me), I woke up horribly depressed as Miles suffered a major sleep relapse. I sat on my sofa, shaking and rocking, with my head under a blanket and sobbed as we blared static through the house and Corey marched the screaming baby up and down the stairs through the wee hours of the night. I decided to check my email and found a note explaining Operation Angel Miles.
My teammates knew we were having a hard time. They knew I was finding it impossible to cope with the isolation of months spent in my living room, marching a baby up and down the stairs. They knew that the sleep deprivation was compromising my mental and physical well-being, that I had to stop driving and that my eyelashes fell out. And so, before they left for Nationals, they left me an IOU.
My teammates set up a schedule and, every single Tuesday for the past three months, two of them showed up at my house to do whatever we needed. I have had ruggers washing dishes and getting Fenugreek for me. They swept my floors and took out my trash and marched my baby up and down the stairs. They engaged me in adult conversation, helped me decorate my Christmas tree, and took dictation while I nursed.
And that was just the surface. The true benefits of Operation Angel Miles were not just the immediate help with chores. The ripple effects are immeasurable! Some nights I got an extra two hours of sleep because my work was finished, which snowballed into a more coherent day and better mothering. Or certainly better teaching. Who knows what student benefited from my regained ability to think critically?
And, the part that matters most of all, I gained confidence the hard times would pass. I got to close my eyes every second and know I was supported by this amazing network of women who would not let me disintegrate. This gift was a boundless gesture of grace. I never knew what it really meant to experience grace before, but I will not forget how it feels enveloping my family.
How do you begin to express gratitude for such an act of love? How do you put into words what the bonds of this sport have meant to me in my darkest and most difficult hours? Operation Angel Miles saved my life this year.
What does rugby mean to me? This: