Rugby is a minority sport in Hawick! Despite a history of 60 or more international players with over 700 caps between them, twelve Scottish championships, two Scottish Cup wins, the reflected fame of television commentator, the late Bill McLaren, and seven quite separate rugby clubs, more townsfolk are involved in the wide range of other sporting activities. The international fame of Sir Chay Blyth in sailing or of Jimmy Guthrie, Steve Hislop and Stuart Easton in motor cycling are examples of Teries rising to the top in other sports.
The importance of the annual Common Riding for example, with its horse-related activities, has encouraged generations of lads to take to the saddle, and the number who have ridden on the racecourses of Britain in recent times is in double figures. Additionally there are four local training stables.
Indeed the range of activities extends to angling, archery, bowls – both indoor and outdoor, boxing, cricket, cycling, darts, field archery, golf, harriers, hockey, motor-cycling, orienteering, professional running, small wheels, snooker, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, yoga. Add the strenuous exercise of Scottish country dancing, and the cerebral challenges of bridge, chess, and whist and you’ll agree that’s quite a choice.
Local athletes have been involved at international level, in nine different sports. The all-weather sports facility which opened in October 2005, the excellent gym facilities at Think Fitness, the range of activities within Teviotdale Leisure Centre, and the manner in which local clubs and groups plan development projects to maintain and promote their sport, all testify to the importance of sport in the local community, creating a path to that national and international success.
Hawick is a small community, with just 15000 inhabitants. Be successful, and you’re the talk of the town: front-page news. Be off the pace one week and you’ll be asked questions on High Street. Townsfolk are knowledgeable about their sport, and they want to give their support.
In fact, think back over all the activities mentioned above. Sport occupies a prominent place in the life of the town, and its future generally seems bright. Which activity are you going to get involved in?