On this day we have learned about the best garden in Belgrade, rugby league and technology developments at the national television. I keep being amazed about the novelties from Belgrade’s past.
We got presents today in the shape of people who were brought to the workshop as well as the objects and stories they brought with themselves.
Firstly, Jelena gave us a low down on Belgrade’s historical sites as an amateur historian. It was wonderful to be encouraging her to think differently and understand that we are actually not interested in the official history, so she doesn’t have to tell us about the order of monuments in Karadjordjev park. So, she told us about the medieval door found when a local politician tried to build a parking there. She contacted the centre for protection of culture and they arrived, opened the door and found a treasure for which she only got a thank you call. We do not even know who is safeguarding our culture and that seems to be done by the elderly who got a sense of the community during the socialist times.
Rugby coaching course, Belgrade, October 1954
Those times were not only coloured by the communist ideology, but had a liberal streak, especially for the generation living in the city in 50s and 60s. This is proven by the local sportsmen who were rugby players. I did not know we even have a team, and the veterans in the Pensioner’s Club were properly offended by that, especially because I live in England. They informed me that the first rugby players were Serbian students in George Heriot's School in Edinburgh, Scotland during The First World War! I am to hear more this week and am preparing to go to the game.
How it all started
In 1953 he French are coming, rugby teams that went to promote the match on stadium of the Yugoslav National Army. A lot of ours went to watch it. That year, straight after the French came, we established rugby club “The Workers” (Radnicki). Sport society “The Workers” below in Dorcol had its own football pitch and we need it for rugby. The pitch was from the French Street when you enter Dunavska St, there is that service, the city transport office, between Dunavska St and the rail track. We made that rugby club and we trained seriously. In the beginning we were given side pitch to train and the games we played in the main one. After a month we got changing rooms, Mara laundry women kept our dresses and for exchange we fixed her irons, boilers and so on. And we got a shoemaker Bora to keep our spiked trainers and we managed repairs in his building. It was hard to get to the equipment at the time, so we usually got football shirts. First year and a half we had football shirts. Later on, we got shirts from a strong fabric so you cannot rip them, with strengtheners on shoulders and elbows.
About the first trainer and the game
We were trained by Boris Blažević who in 1952 run away from Romania with his wife. They sat on a gas bottle on the border, let the gas go and Pheeeew, the border patrol did not managed to shoot them because they were shooting everyone who comes there.
He was a rugby representative. In 1953 the game gets propagated, I get animated, he gets involved and at the beginning, in half a year 7 teams were formed. He went to train all 7 crews.
The first official friendly game was 1954 in Paraćin.
Leaflet for the 1st official rugby game held in 1954 in Paracin.