Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I know you’re busy this time of year, and I know I left this till the last minute, but what can I say—I’m running on rugby time.

Santa, this has been a complicated year. We’ve been through lockdown, opening up, and locking down again. We’ve lost friends, loved ones, teammates, and we’re still here. We’ve lost matches, both from the pandemic and from the scoreboard. We’ve been through hell and we’re afraid of going back.

The solstice has passed and the nights are now getting shorter—there’s always hope even in the darkest of winters. Two years in and we’re hoping for a lighter winter.

So, Santa, here’s a list—I know it’s last minute but the shops don’t carry these wishes anyway.

Hope where there’s fear. The bravest thing in life is hope when everything around us seems hopeless. May we unwrap dreams and expectation for the holiday this year.

Support where there’s loneliness. May those around us who feel alone feel the warmth of our embrace, whether from near or far. May we who are feeling alone be reminded that our support runners are just behind our shoulder.

Tolerance where there’s injustice, bigotry, and small-mindedness. In this society that is breeding hate and division at a record pace, may we experience and perpetuate small acts of radical tolerance and acceptance and unity. In a world where kindness is decidedly counter-cultural, may we remember that rugby is a game for all, that our teammates may not look like us, worship like us, celebrate like us, or love like us—but they are the same as us.

Victory where there has been defeat. Every good team knows that losses are part of the game. May we never accept the inevitability of a loss and never take for granted the joy and thrill of a win.

Onward where we are stuck. Forward progress is always the goal. But when we are driven back, may we simply set the ball and recycle and take another crash. There’s always a chance to retain possession and keep moving.

Santa, we may not all celebrate the same season, but we are all alike in needing a pick-me-up as we head into a new year. Peace on earth may be too much to fit under a tree, but we can strive for peace on our teams, peace in our families, and peace in our minds.

This season may we be the peace others need.

And next Christmas, could we get Joe Marler to drive the sleigh? We hear he’s already pretty good with the scrum sled.

Written by Adam Hughes.