Making a Fuss of the Crusaders

Making a Fuss of the Crusaders

When the families at Redwood Playcentre won a bookcase through a Jennian Homes promotion, to be delivered by Crusaders, they decided to ‘make a fuss’ of the occasion.

On Wednesday 22nd June, the bookcase arrived, delivered – with ease – by three Crusaders, Nemani Nadolo, Pete Samu and Kieron Fonotia.

Before their arrival, the kids had transformed the Playcentre into a celebration of red and black – with balloons and handmade shields complete with kowhaiwhai and koru.

The occasion was an opportunity for the families to showcase their warmth and hospitality. ‘Food is one way to welcome people and to celebrate things. And rugby players need to eat, right?’ comments Katrina. ‘Because they were due to come at 8.30am, we thought, let’s feed them!’ And feed them they did, with a tasty spread of ham and cheese croissants and smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels. And coffee, of course. 

Katrina has been involved with Playcentre for nine years, since her youngest was one, and now attends youngest son Toby (4). As Katrina explains, ‘the two older boys love revisiting their Playcentre and there was no way they were missing an opportunity to meet the Crusaders and share a yummy breakfast with us’.

'Dominic (10) is really into rugby and he couldn’t wait to meet his hero, Nemani Nadolo. He said to me “I bet he’ll be really massive!”’, shares Katrina.

Before everyone tucked into breakfast, Callum Knill (8) led everyone in grace. ‘During breakfast, the kids had questions for the Crusaders, like what they usually eat for breakfast. And whether they’d teach them how to kick a ball off a tee.’

Despite the commanding presence of the guys, the Playcentre children were unfazed. And despite the unfamiliar territory, the rugby players soaked up the atmosphere. ‘After breakfast, we all went outside and Nemani held the tee while the kids took turns kicking the ball.’

At 9.30am it was time to move on – and get to a training session ahead of their game against the Highlanders. ‘It was really sweet: Toby ran up to them and said “thank you for visiting us”.’

In some regards, this was just another morning for the kids at Playcentre – a morning with shared kai and with grown-ups showing an interest in them. Of course for the older kids, like Dominic and Callum, and the parents, meeting the stars was a thrilling experience.

And, as Dominic had predicted, Nemani was massive. 'We took a photo of them together to compare the sizes of their thighs!’

As Katrina explains, ‘we just make a fuss about of stuff at Playcentre’ – and she isn’t referring to the sort of fuss a toddler might make over sharing his truck or that of a parent in response to their three year old spilling the paint. She means the way that families love to celebrate and show their appreciation – with food – when they win a new bookcase for their beloved centre and when they get to meet their rugby heroes, an outside back, a loose forward and a centre.

Talking to Katrina it is apparent that these families know how to ‘make a fuss’ of the wonderfully ordinary stuff too, that they relish any opportunity to appreciate and celebrate being together – and that sharing food is their principal way of doing so.

Because when it comes to kids, the ordinary stuff is worth the fuss!

Pictured: Nemani Nadolo with Dominic, Callum and Toby Knill. 

Making a Fuss of the Crusaders

Posted: Sunday 26 June 2016