My name is Nahum Merigan and this is my Deeper Why.
I wasn’t always into rugby. My mates all played football, so I naturally wanted to do that too. My size never really allowed me to be successful on that front!
I used to get into trouble for knocking things over or barging into people accidentally. Thinking back, I probably wanted to be smaller, to be everyone else’s height and size. I stood out like a sore thumb, and I was only eight-years-old.
That was when my uncle mentioned playing rugby to my mum and said to take me down to Taunton RFC and as I progressed and developed, I got to an age where I just owned my body and height. I can now look at it as a blessing as it has opened up opportunities for me to do different things and excel in a sport that I really enjoy.
It was just mum and I during that stage of my life. As a single parent, going down the rugby club was as beneficial for her as it was for me. I have a lot of good mates down there who I still talk to to this day, and she has friends from there who she’s been on holiday with. It quickly became a wider family for us – a second family.
If anyone looked at mine and my mum’s dynamic… it’s very weird! We sort of treat each other as good friends. You’d listen to our conversations sometimes and be like: ‘what the hell are they even talking about!’ because we’d be taking the mickey out of each other.
Unfortunately, she was very ill for a large part of my childhood. As the ‘man of the house’ so to speak, it came to a point where I was looking after her. Thankfully, my grandparents only lived down the road and my relationship with them is as strong as it is today because most weeks, I’d be round there five times a week having a cup of tea after school. That was our dynamic, that’s how it worked. It was tough but you get on with it; it becomes your normal. It’s like when covid hit, it became the new normal. It’s just how you can adapt and get on with things.
Even though my grandad and uncle have been around, I’ve never had that fatherly figure there 24/7 but the values my mum and my family have taught me, and the other grandkids as well, have helped me through a lot and it’s definitely something I’ve tried to carry into my rugby.
I’m very passionate about my rugby. If you ask the boys, it may seem like sometimes I’m kicking off or throwing a tantrum but it’s because I care a lot about what I do because I enjoy doing what I do and I want to get the best out of it. My mum taught me to throw everything at it and not hold anything back because if you do anything half-arsed it most probably won’t work out for you. She’s shaped a large part of who I am today.
That’s the reason she, and my family, are my why.
The support they have given me has been unbelievable. Even though she was struggling with illness, she made sure I had everything I needed – including boots every six weeks as I grew at a rapid rate! She still drove me here there and everywhere for games on a Sunday even though she wasn’t feeling the best and other members of my family would also help as much as possible. As much as I enjoy my rugby for myself, I try and succeed at rugby as much for them as well. They are the reason why I’m here and it would be morally wrong to push that aside.
It’s an emotional why. It’s definitely a why I try and wear on my sleeve too. My mum and I used to come to Bath games when I was younger and I remember I came to Danny Grewcock’s last ever Bath game when he retired. My passion became her passion and it meant I’ve always had that support there and she likes to keep me in check. She always asks what the next thing is for me and what the next thing is I can strive for, which keeps me grounded.
I have clear goals here at Bath and I want to become a regular starter which I know isn’t going to be easy. I’ve dreamed of making as many appearances in Blue, Black and White as I can ever since we used to go to games when I was a kid.
I’m happy here, this is what makes me happy and I’m going to work hard every day to make that happen and make my family proud.