There Was Success in Our Failure
TekSavvy Kent Cup - Canada vs. USA - Photo by Ian Kennedy
Failure is the wrong word for what happened this past weekend. Following the incredible success of the Women’s International Rugby games in Chatham-Kent Friday night, event organizers immediately began conversations with Rugby Canada officials to bring the Nations Cup Womens Finals to Chatham this weekend.
The games, which would have featured an identical format as the TekSavvy Kent Cup events from last Friday, with different matchups (Canada vs. England in the final), fell through. Although many were confirming the shift of venue was a done deal because the four teams reportedly enjoyed their time in Chatham, logistics and contractual issues got the better of the local organizers’ efforts.
But, there was success in this failure. The games aren’t coming to Chatham-Kent this summer, but the Nations Cup organizers wanted the games to come to Chatham-Kent. The success is that our community proved we can host an international event like this. Not only host an event of this scale, but to do it so impressively that international sporting groups immediately consider moving previously scheduled games to our community because they know what we are all about.
The Kent Havoc Rugby Football Club, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, TekSavvy, and other groups involved in bringing the Nations Cup round robin games to Chatham-Kent for the TekSavvy Kent Cup did a phenomenal job. The crowd of 915, which likely would have been larger had a sizeable group of rugby fans not booked trips to the mens rugby games in Toronto that night long before Chatham-Kent was awarded these games, was loud, and respectful. The crowd cheered for South Africa, England, Canada, and the USA; in other words, the crowd cheered for the talented athletes on the field and the sport of rugby in general.
Volunteers made parking, seating, food and beverages, and the other activities around the field easy to navigate and accessible. As well, they prepared the Chatham-Kent Community Athletic Complex to look spectacular that evening with flags waving, and the field itself in great shape. Players from the visiting teams commended local fans, organizers, and businesses. They enjoyed their team meals, the meet and greet reception held the night before the games, and the media support they received.
Looking back on the evening, it’s hard to pinpoint something that was done poorly. Did we fail to bring the Nations Cup Finals back to Chatham-Kent? I guess you could say that, but I would say that we succeeded in so much more; showing all of Canada, and rugby fans and officials across the globe what our community is capable of.
It’s inevitable, after the outstanding collaborative display from our local rugby group and community, Chatham-Kent will be awarded another, possibly larger, International rugby friendly or event in the future.
I used the word failure for lack of a better term, but it wasn’t a failure at all. We could have pulled off the Nations Cup Final on short notice and done it well. International rugby groups wanted to, and still do want to come here. And we displayed how amazing our small, local sports organizations can become if they aim high.
I hope this is just a beginning. I hope other groups see the success the Kent Havoc had in this event, take the lead, and go after their own large events. When they do, you can guarantee our community will rally together yet again to put on another world class event…and we’ll have even more groups asking, can we come back?
Let the games begin.
Ian Kennedy is also the founder of the Chatham-Kent Sports Network. Chatham-Kent’s newest destination for local sports news, highlights, and scores.