Personally, I don’t actually write messages on my own strapping tape on wrists or other areas when I play, but my teammates do. So I feel like I’m qualified to give an unbiased opinion on the ever repeating subject of banning rugby players from writing any messages on their strapping tape during games. I hear this has resurfaced again, and I sigh as World Rugby are insisting on this ban in the near future. I can tell you now, it doesn’t sit well with us Pacific Island players.
Every time I run out on the field during the HSBC Sevens circuit, it is with immense pride. Every game, every tournament. As you run out of the tunnel, every player no doubt casts a thought to their family, loved ones, the sacrifices they have made to get there and who they are representing. For Pacific Islander’s its often our family, community and church, all of which are huge parts of our lives. A lot of the time we have come from humble beginnings and our parents and family have sacrificed a lot themselves to support us to get to where we are. We like to acknowledge them.
Just about every player in the Samoa Seven’s team has strapping of some sort, and majority of my teammates do write on their strapping tape.
“These words and illustrations are a personal reminder and a tribute to those things that are most important to us. Like religion, family and names of loved ones. Some of which are back home watching on TV and some of which are no doubt looking down from the sky above,”
For some of my teammates, the reason for writing on their wrists is often it not even that deep. Sometimes players may write specific ‘plays’ or things to remember when they are on the field. Just like an NFL Quarter Back with their plays on their arm, when we are in the heat of the battle, we need to remember our role! I guess what I am trying to say is that despite the reason, players feel we should have a right to express ourselves, be individuals and to acknowledge what’s important to us.
Currently, we have the freedom to write on our strapping tape and I feel it gives us a deeper aspect to our sport that many others don’t. Through something as simple as a short message written on a wrist, a player not only reminds themselves of who they are doing this for; who they are working so hard for. But we also show the public what motivates us, who we are and that we are individuals. It upsets me that my teammates would be deeply impacted by any decision to ban writing on strapping tape. If somebody steps outside of common sense and writes something stupid, then punish them.
That’s fair. But it would be silly to do a blanket ban that punishes all of us, our families and our motivators. My mates and I look to those simple messages for motivation, mental strength and to get through the battle on the field. Others look at them to see who we are. It would be sad to see that removed from our game.