As the lights faded to black they just sat there, still - it was a really special moment, because until that moment I didn't know that THAT was what I was trying to achieve.

The final night of Balls at my hometown theater was nothing less than an emotional roller coaster. The energy of the final night, the feeling of relief that we had pulled it off, the sadness that it was finishing... The Lads (and the lady) really did the show credit and brought it to life and I was so proud of all of us. 

But the best moment for me actually came after the final scene. Three of the people who sat next to me (two of which I knew) just sat there, they didn't move; even after everyone had exited into the foyer, they were still in their seats. I dared not move (as I was sitting pretty much in the middle), but then finally one of them spoke, it was actually the person I didn't know and it was question after question, How did you come up with that? How long did it take you to write? Each answer usually prompting another question. 

Now look, I don't want to sound pretentious. I'm just a kiwi boy from South Auckland - but the fact that something I wrote made somebody sit there stunned, thinking over and over about what they had just seen was pretty cool; in fact it was awesome and until that moment I didn't even know that that was what I was trying to achieve. But of course, I wanted to create a story that not only entertains but also makes you think. I love engaging with stories myself, and It was such a privilege to give that experience to others. 

So now it's all over, what happens next? I know I would love to take the show on the road, tour it around Aotearoa because Balls is more than a South Auckland story,  it is a New Zealand story and  it is (for better and for worse) part of our entire country's culture. In a recent New Zealand Rugby investigation 36 cases of misconduct were sited in the past four years. These included: "incidents involving inappropriate sexual behaviour, violent behaviour towards team members or coaches, drug and alcohol offenses and homophobic slurs." These sitings show that "Balls" hit the nail on the head with it's interpretation of this part of who we are, and I'm sorry, but it's ugly! I love rugby, I've said that continually throughout that process - growing up me and my Dad really bonded over this beautiful game, and he taught me everything I know about it - but he also taught me to be kind, honest and real. 

-Joshua Baty

Link to the New Zealand Rugby Investigation: