Humans of Willoughby: Andrew ‘Barndo’ BarndenApril 13, 2018
“When I moved to Sydney (Artarmon) from Uralla (in Northern NSW) in July 1997 as a 22 year old, I knew one old school mate in Sydney and that was it. So I thought that the best way to meet people would be through a sporting club and accordingly, I decided to continue playing rugby and joined Chatswood Rugby Club. That was almost 21 years ago and I still love the environment that organised sports create – the fitness element (especially working in a professional environment as an Insolvency Practitioner for Rodgers Reidy), the competiveness of organised sport and most of all, the social environment of mixing with people of different ages, backgrounds and working lives, who all share a common interest.
When I first joined Chatswood Rugby Club, I would never have thought that my playing involvement at the Club would last for so long, especially in a contact sport where injuries are common. But touch wood, I have avoided serious injuries over my playing career, despite playing in the forwards (initially as a Breakaway before moving into Hooker as I got older and slightly slower). After re-joining the Club in 2003 following 18 months overseas, my goal was to play to the Centenary of the Club, which was in 2012, however, as I was enjoying my time on the field and was still being competitive, I decided to continual to play. People often say that I am mad for still playing opens rugby against younger and bigger opponents, then in the next sentence they say that they wished that they stilled payed for a year or two longer.
The dynamics of Chatswood Rugby Club has changed over the years as Chatswood itself has changed, however, one thing remains the same, the mateship and community feel that comes with playing for a sporting club. Through my contacts at Chatswood Rugby Club over years, I have made some great friends all over the world, which has even seen me play the occasional games of rugby in the USA and also a season in the UK.
However, all good things must come to an end and as my children (Isabelle 11 & James 9) are getting older, it is harder to balance the junior sports timetable to allow me to play for Chatswood Rugby Club, so this year will probably be my last year of playing, but I haven’t ruled out playing Golden Oldies Rugby (over 35’s). In this regard, I have also taken up coaching my son’s under 10’s team this year and hopefully will be able to pass on my passion and knowledge of the game to a new generation of rugby players. My family, especially my wife, Felicity, has been very supportive of me playing rugby over the years, as she knows it’s a good way to keep active in a social environment. My son often comes to the game with me on a Saturday afternoon to support and cheer the team on.
My 300th game also coincides with “Back to Beauchamp Day”, where the old boys of the Club get together and catch up and also talk about their playing days. Chatswood Rugby plays at Beauchamp Park, Nicolson St, Chatswood this Saturday, with Colts kicking off at 2pm and 1st Grade at 3.15pm, so with the weather forecast expected to be sunny, spectators are more than welcome to come down and enjoy an afternoon of Subbies Rugby. “