From the floor of the house to the middle of the scrum, Maree Todd MSP is tackling a new challenge, but she has her daughter on side to help her.
Maree and daughter Rowan are the first ever mother-daughter duo to play rugby for Scottish Parliament RFC – a cross-party Scottish Parliament rugby team, made up of MSPs & staff, playing for charity and to foster relations between colleagues.
Maree used to play rugby for a club in Inverness before she started a family. Rowan plays for her team at Caledonian University and for West of Scotland club. This duo share a love for rugby and keeping active together.
Rowan started off as a keen swimmer and footballer and now plays rugby for three different teams.
“She’s much better and more athletic than I ever was. Natural footballer picks up skills easily” says Maree when comparing their sporting careers. Rowan has an open mind towards different sports. She says: “I have tried pretty much everything. For me, sport has always been an integral part of my life and I have always had a passion for it."
In it together
Parliamentary rugby is a social sport, it’s not very competitive in nature. The goal is to bring people together on and off the pitch, to nurture relationships through participating in a fun and exciting sport. “It’s like our own 6 Nations!”
Because Maree is often away from home for work, having an opportunity to spend time with her daughter on a rugby pitch was welcomed by both.
But it is also a way to discover different sides of each other – not just mother-daughter but teammates who play, win and lose together.
Maree explained: “Rugby is the sort of sport that might be quite hard for a mum to watch from the side-lines. By getting involved in the game my adrenaline is up and I don’t feel so horrified when I see someone charging at Rowan.
"The sporting connection allowed my daughter to see me in the new light, it’s quite a brave sport, so it probably makes a different impression.”
All about staying fit
“Although my mum is admittedly not the best rugby player anymore, I find it very inspiring that she is still so dedicated to the sport she loves. My mum gives her everything on the field and does a lot to support the team, which beyond any actual playing, is very inspiring,” says Rowan.
Maree enjoys the social aspect of the game a lot and praises the skills and benefits she gets from playing sport.
She added: "Partially because of rugby I’m motivated to stay fit. I do a daily mile to stay on top of it and I love the period of mindfulness and relaxation it gives me. With rugby being a team sport, all shapes and sizes have a place on the pitch and communication is key. It translates very well to other aspects of life. And you can make friends anywhere in the world, it’s a great conversation starter.”
Inspiring each other
Despite not playing rugby for few years, Maree has found that it helped her gain strength and confidence and be a role model for her daughter.
“I think it’s very important for women to be role models."
"We need to show and remind girls that there’s a lot of joy in sport. It doesn’t matter that you’re muddy, sweaty and red, there’s a lot of benefits to feeling strong, bold and powerful and you can’t really get that from anything else.”
"For mums especially, it’s a great way to stay fit, meet new friends and maybe even have a bit more time to yourself. It might be hard to squeeze it in with all the business of work and family life, but an hour hike could end up being a highlight of your week.”
Rowan says she finds her mum's attitude inspiring.
She said: “I definitely find my mum's passion and dedication inspirational.
"The fact that every day she goes out of her way to complete her daily mile or that she takes time out of her busy schedule to play rugby shows her level of commitment to sport. That in itself is exceptionally inspiring, and I hope to have the same attitude as my mum throughout my life.”