|Alan Calder - the legend behind the youth festival
Posted 21/4/17 @ 19:53 by Euan D (Posts: 64)
On the eve of one of the biggest and best youth sporting events in Scotland, the Dalziel family and wider sporting community remember the man who made it happen . . .
Featuring a ramshackle of canvas tents, makeshift BBQs and a handful of local teams, Alan Calder initiated the first Dalziel Rugby Youth Festival in 1991.
27 years later and it’s grown into to one of the biggest and best youth sporting events in Scotland, attracting teams from across the UK and beyond.
People often recall Alan’s passion, his pragmatic approach – and his ability to pull the rabbit out the hat when all seemed an uphill struggle in the Cleland quagmire (as these now pristine parks were once sometimes known).
Tragically, we lost Alan on Monday 14th January 2008 at the age of 58.
Alan is sorely missed - but fondly remembered. And these annual, introductory remarks always seem to elicit recollections of a man who made a real difference.
Following the publication of last year’s programme, I received one such message from one of this club’s numerous homegrown stars, Steven ‘Heed’ Findlay.
Heed started playing with Dalziel as a boy in 1994 before appearing 97 times for the 1st XV, scoring nine tries.
Watching Heed go into contact was like witnessing a sledgehammer striking a snowman.
His persuasive approach caught the eye of Glasgow Hawks, Glasgow Warriors and latterly a playing stint for the Eastern Suburbs in Australia (before a return to Hawks.)
Last year’s message came from a somewhat homesick Heed, who was reading the programme Down Under.
He recalled in his message that it was Alan who originally enthused him, recognised his potential, encouraged him and mentored him.
The Heed – and others like him; Gary Strain, Andy Hill, Grahamy Calder, Stuart Caulfield, mes freres and the list of many others at Dalziel who’ve achieved stellar success on (and indeed off) the park,
are all united by a common denominator.
That is Alan Calder - and volunteers like him.
Be in no doubt, Alan’s spirit and enthusiasm lives on. Look around you and you’ll see it at every age level and at every club.
Coaches, supporters and volunteers equipping their boys and girls with not only the basic skills - but imbuing them with a positive mentality, team work and the ability to weather the rough and tumble.
And no matter how high these players ultimately fly, on or off the park, many of them will look back on days like today and remember these people; coaches, supporters and backers.
People who believed in them - and inspired them to believe in themselves.
People like Alan Calder.
Welcome to the 27 th Festival of Youth Rugby.
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