Joleene Sheriffe – General Manager
I’ve always been interested in health, sport and fitness, trying various sports such as running, boxing, Muay Thai Boxing, weight training, climbing and even parachuting! Coupled with my career as a qualified paramedic, I couldn’t be happier! I’ve also always loved rugby. I joined the Halifax Ladies RUFC team when in my early 20s, settling into the position as second rower. It was through mutual rugby friends that I met Jode, and our mutual love of rugby, enthusiasm for fitness in general and banter as to which is better, Union or League, brought us together. We have two children and it was their inspiration that led us to create Rugger Ratz.
My life before Rugger Ratz…
Believe it or not, most of the sports I love were introduced to me during my three years as a proud member of the Territorial Army, and this is also where I gained my interest in the medical profession. Whilst I was there, I was offered three career options I could choose to follow: Signals, Chef or Combat Medical Technician – I chose the latter of course.
I worked to become qualified and, in 2000, gained a place with the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service, qualifying as a paramedic in 2003. If I hadn’t been accepted first time, I planned to join the army full time to pursue further combat medical experience, and my life may have turned out completely differently!
How my rugby career began
My interest in rugby started when I was roped in to making bacon butties for the boys at Old Brodleians RUFC, where my step-brother Oliver played, every Sunday morning. I progressed to working occasionally behind the bar and loved the close-knit family atmosphere that all rugby clubs seem to enjoy.
I joined the Halifax Ladies RUFC team when in my early 20s, settling into the position as second rower. It was through mutual rugby friends that I met Jode who played Rugby League.
Next…children and Rugger Ratz
When our son Tyreese was born, it was soon clear that he was going to be energetic. This became obvious in almost everything he did, from tackling the other kids at Baby Ballet, to picking up and running off with the ball at Soccer Tots. By the time he was two, we wanted him to start joining in the game he grew up with, but we couldn’t find anything suitable for his young age, so with our joint backgrounds and our love of the game, we created Rugger Ratz.
Jode is great with kids, loves rugby and is very passionate about it so I knew it would be a success. Jode thought it was a great idea so we went with it, as scary as it seemed. After all Jode had the knowledge and background and I can and will turn my hand to anything.
Jode gained all of his qualifications, whilst I scared the Business Link speakers by attending as many courses as possible right up until the end of my pregnancy with our second son, Reubyn.
I wanted to prepare myself with as much knowledge as possible as to what may be required other than drive and passion to succeed in business. We had a lot of fun running free taster classes at various amateur clubs around Halifax, followed by just two classes a week whilst we had so much going on at home with the new baby, a two year old and an imminent wedding to prepare for!
Full classes and expanding the team
Since the start of 2012, all of our classes have been full and we’ve risen to the demand by bringing on board great coaches such as past coaches – Richard Mudd, Matt Senior, Jak Adams, James Crowther, Chelsey Holder and brother and sister team Joe and Isobel Hallos. Now we have Tom Wormald and the original Rugger Ratz member Tyreese Sheriffe.
I hope Richard will have been the first of many to be a part of the success and growth of Rugger Ratz as we also help them also to kickstart their careers in rugby/sport coaching.
My personal dream for Rugger Ratz is to build stronger links with many more amateur clubs, both league and union, and together we can produce future outstanding players from the grass roots.