Guest blog: Interview with Bruce Aitchison

This month’s blog features an interview with Bruce Aitchison, a coach, business speaker, blogger and all-round professional rugby enthusiast and wellbeing ambassador, whose network extends from Scotland and England through to Canada and New Zealand.

Bruce’s blog ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’ explores issues around physical and mental wellbeing, anchored in a Growth Mindset approach to life, sport and everything else.  See below for our interview with Bruce and further details.

And, with Easter just around the corner, we thought the ‘Egg Shaped’ theme was pretty apt, too…..

1 – What is ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’ and how did it start?
Happiness is Egg Shaped is a movement to make the world better!  Happiness is Egg Shaped started with a t-shirt my older brother gave me as a birthday present. I started to sign off my Facebook posts and rants
with ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’, my friends liked it! I love rugby and the values of the game, I think there is a huge amount to be gained by being involved in sport and rugby especially. I didn’t get any caps and haven’t played professionally, but I have experienced so much, met great people, traveled to great places and been given opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have been open to me. I want to encourage other
people to get involved and improve their mental, emotional and physical health through involvement in sport, rugby just being my choice!

2 – What do you enjoy most about being involved in the rugby community?
There is no 2nd to playing! I still love to play whenever I get the chance. Games bring the rugby community together in every role possible in life, friend and foe, supporter, leader and follower, organiser and volunteer, but all contribute to the spirit that can’t be quantified, it has to be experienced and felt to be believed. People from all walks of life belong in rugby clubs and past generations get to pass on their wisdom and myths to the current crop and the circle of life continues!

3 – How has ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’ helped you develop your career and involvement in the game?
Happiness is Egg Shaped has given me opportunities to reach far and wide into the rugby world and beyond. I have met amazing people who are willing to help me and the support has been immense. I have been asked
to contribute to the development of clubs, speak at dinners, motivate younger people to get involved and being asked for my views is a huge honour. I hope to further develop the brand to allow me to get out into the Rugby World and spread the word of how much rugby can contribute to a well rounded and happy life. I would like to support people from all walks of life to engage in the sport to experience the immense benefits I have
been lucky to have had so far and continue to experience.

4 – What changes have you seen in the past 5-10 years in the game of rugby?

The women’s game has grown beyond any measure I could have predicted 10 years ago and the role models for girls are awesome. 7s has played a huge part in the growth of the game throughout the world and being
included in the Olympics has meant that countries like USA and China are now taking the development of the game very seriously. The professional game has become a different beast from the club game, the level of
analysis, preparation and especially the physical development of the players is out of this world. In many areas clubs are struggling to attract members and to field teams, this has seen many clubs financially
struggle to keep up. But the spirit and the community is still strong, it is changing and the social cross section of a clubhouse on a Saturday afternoon is more diverse than ever. Leisure time is a competitive
market and rugby is working hard to be a priority. Attracting youth members, giving them meaningful experiences when they leave U18 rugby is crucial and creating opportunities for people to get involved in the
club game are challenges that need to be met as the rewards are phenomenal.

5 – Our mantra at the Rugby Ball Light is ‘Rugby in a different light’ – what’s the one difference you’d like to see in rugby now and in the future?

I would like to see younger players given the chance to play and develop their skills in supportive, challenging environments and to be given chances to tour and go out into the world to see the opportunities that
are available. I would love to see a shift in focus from involvement in sport being about physical health and fitness and more about social and emotional benefits. The transferable life skills learned and developed through rugby involvement are fantastic. Working with others towards a common goal, dealing with feedback, winning and losing, individual responsibility contributing towards a greater objective, travel, meeting with people from other areas, religions, ethnic backgrounds and cultures and a commitment to self and others can make a significant contribution to the well being of an individual. The positive side effect will hopefully be physical health and fitness. People tend to stay involved if they FEEL good. And for the few, a career in the game will be a fantastic reward, for the huge majority hopefully a lifetime involvement will lead to many happy and challenging days. Rugby clubs should look to give young people a home that values them as people and not just players. There is a place for everyone in our game.

Thanks Bruce!


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