When North Harbour Rugby announced they'd be axing their age grade rep teams to focus more on participation and less on performance, well. You can imagine the outcry on talkback. PC gone mad, callers thundered. We're all going soft! It'll be the death of New Zealand rugby, prophesied one old rugby sage.
I was with them. Kids like to win. Even if it's not officially recorded, they know who's had a shellacking and who hasn't. Who's a natural under the high ball and who isn't. Who's great at intimidating opposition players and who'd be better off cutting up the oranges and bringing them out at half time.
It seemed a bit unpatriotic to remove rep teams and best of the best teams and to do away with crunching tackles in favour of a non-contact Rippa grade targeting boys aged between 8-13, and girls' under-15s and school grades.
But a Herald investigation this week has supported North Harbour's move. The world's leading head injury experts, based at Boston University, say no child should be playing contact sport before the age of 12. The group of Boston scientists say the younger you start sports like rugby and American football, the greater the chances of developing degenerative brain diseases in later life.
They also warned that football in't necessarily safe, with heading the ball producing the same sort of repetitive head knock that can cause trouble in adults.
I accept the experts know their stuff. And I can only imagine how distressing it must be to have to try to rehabilitate a kid with a brain injury - because, after all, that's exactly what concussion is.
A number of parents contacted me telling me about their children requiring terms off school, having to deal with mood swings and depressing, explosive rages, limiting screen time, trying to keep them abreast of their studies without overdoing it, and trying to exhaust them physically so that the brain could heal while they slept.
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The children's lives became reduced to home and family as their friends and teammates carried on with their lives and the kids carried on with recovering and trying to get back to the boys and girls they'd once been.
But none of the parents I spoke to had children whose injuries were sustained through rugby. One was through hockey and a collision with the goalie; another was on a scooter in her own backyard while wearing a helmet and a third was a daughter who stood up and collided with an open cupboard door. Ironically, that parent's son had competed in motorcross for years and had come a cropper on numerous occasions without ever suffering a head injury - go figure.
And that's the thing. We can put our boys and girls in bubbles but anything can happen. Refuse to let them play rugby and they could be taking the dog for a walk, trip over the leash - and bang. Permanent brain damage. They could dive off a wharf and land the wrong way - and they're in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.
The cool thing about being young is that you throw yourself at life. You are reckless with your body and you are fearless. And occasionally there are kids who will push things too far, go beyond their limits or just experience bloody rotten luck. I don't think that means we should dictate that our kids must live a grey life, a life without colour or energy as a result.
I watch videos of my grandson, who's only just turned 2, scooting down hills at a rate of knots, wobbling dangerously before hitting the flat and straightening out. My heart is in my mouth because he is so very precious - and now I'm older I have a greater understanding of the fragility of life.
I want to stop the video and rewind it and keep him at home safe and sound, but then I see him turn to his proud mother and the adrenalin and pride and pure joy in his face as he grins up at her and tells her how "cool" that was reminds me that the best gift you can give a child is to let them pretend they're invincible.