When you were a kid did you have a childhood dream? Mine was to have blonde hair and thanks to dye that was possible but some have childhood dreams that are much less easy to achieve….
The All Blacks rugby team are ranked number one and as far as Scotland are concerned are unbeatable, as we have never won a test against them (not yet that is, and being Scottish we are forever positive about our chances. That said we did beat them at 7s earlier this year, so you never know!). We play this year’s Autumn test against New Zealand at Murrayfield on Saturday 18th November, and one very excited local, little boy from our hometown of Duns is going to be a mascot for the Scotland team!
Hayden Martin’s childhood dream was to one day walk out onto the pitch with his beloved All Blacks. He got very close and was a mascot for a provincial side. Being born in New Zealand there is no choice, rugby is a way of life. As he says, rugby is a wonderful platform from which to teach trust, teamwork, hard work, confidence, sociability and loyalty and the whole ethos of respect is gained through the game, as from an early age children learn never to mess with a referee, or you are 10 yards back or worse! The lessons learned from rugby, shape players characters and provides them with qualities for future life. In New Zealand, kids play from a very early age and rugby is a big part of their life and the All Blacks are their heroes. Hayden always watched games at Eden Park in Auckland with his Dad, he has even named his house after the stadium.
Hayden left New Zealand in 2004 on an adventure and headed to South East Asia and then landed in London, it was during his time there that he received a call from our local rugby team Duns RFC asking if he would like to join the squad. He jumped at the chance to come to Scotland, as he had always wanted to come here, as he had gone to University in Dunedin, Otago, where all the street names are the same as in Edinburgh and his friend had family in Glasgow.
After just a couple of weeks , Hayden’s future in Scotland was sealed, as he met his future wife Sally. When they got married Hayden embraced Scottish tradition and he wore a Kilt but his kiwi roots were not forgotten as the Kilt was black and instead of a kilt pin, he wore a silver fern.
Thirteen years after moving to the Scottish Borders, at 38, he is still playing for the Club, although he has said he was going to hang up his boots several times, but giving up a game, you have played all your life is never going to be easy. As coach for Duns RFC Colts and organiser for the 2nd XV, rugby remains a major part of his life. To say that he is a an All Blacks fan is a total understatement, he has never missed an All Blacks game, whether it be live or on TV and when they play the national anthem, he and his boys stand to sing, a family tradition he was brought up with.
He also coaches the minis and his two older sons Kaylen, 11 and Max, 8 play for them. The SRU offer a chance to minis players to be a mascot at Murrayfield games, these are chosen at random, and recently the draw took place to choose the lucky child, who will represent Duns RFC at the game and Max’s name was drawn out of the hat! His Dad is over the moon to say the least, his son is half new Zealander and half Scottish and is getting to walk out with the Scotland team and stand on the same pitch as the mighty All Blacks, how close to your childhood dream can you get?
So dreams do come true, I cannot wait to be at Murrayfield and watch wee Max walk out onto the sacred ground, I don’t know who will be smiling more him or his Dad, but one thing I do know his Dad will be wearing his All Blacks top and cheering on his favourite team! It is sure to be an unforgettable day. Kick off is at 5.15pm, so I hope you will be watching, as some others dreams may come true that day too, well you never know!