A Listicle Revisited
I wrote this listicle two years ago, but I’ve decided to give it a little update. If you read my last post, you’ll understand why I felt the need to rifle through old writings and give them a touch up.
You can read the original here but I prefer the tweaked version.
So let’s jump in!
Rugby is an incredible sport that is at last breaking through to the masses and, like anything new, newcomers are going to have some questions about it. This modest little piece is here to serve as an introduction to any person intrigued by this sport, its history and curious as to how one can get involved.
1) It’s full contact:
Rugby is one of the few sports women can play that is full contact. Many organized sports women enjoy today lack that harmonious blend of mental strategy with unadulterated physical brutality. Even women’s hockey bans body checks while on the ice.
Thankfully, that sexist idea that the “gentler sex” wouldn’t have much fun hitting each other never made it onto the rugby pitch or the boxing ring for that matter. Female ruggers will tackle, scrum and ruck just as their male counterparts do (some times even with their male counterparts as it happens) and celebrate some of the awe inspiring injuries they have received for their efforts to bring glory to their team.
They will also, of course, drink plenty of beer afterward with the opposing team. That’s essential to the healing process.
2) Rugby has been around…for a while:
The hooligans’ game played by gentlefolk has made an incredible surge in popularity over the last five years and in 2016 rugby sevens was made an official event in the Summer Olympics. Although women’s rugby has long been shrouded by a fog of indifference, this game of well managed violence has been with us for a very long time. The first official documentation of an organized women’s charity match was in 1917!
Women, as indomitable as ever, refused to give up on this sport and finally, in the late 1970s, the United States held the first ever Women’s US National Championship in Chicago.
Women’s rugby is flourishing today at a professional level (check out the USA Eagles and New Zealand Black Ferns if you’re curious) and at a local level, but all must be careful to not let giddiness allow for misogyny to dismantle the sport’s progress. It’s important to keep teaching the younger generation that females can play rough too!
3) Rugby encourages altruism:
As mentioned above, not only is rugby’s personal history long but so is its tradition of giving back to the community that hosts it and nurtures it’s growth. Many times throughout the year, a town’s men and women rugby clubs will join forces so they can keep their environment clean, raise money for individuals with special needs, or simply collect funds for a variety of charitable causes.
The spirit of rugby intensifies not only the players’ physical drive but their drive to help their fellow human beings as well.
4) Rugby is for everyone:
Anyone can enter into this realm of camaraderie and ridiculousness regardless of ability, race, sexuality or gender. A form of rugby for disabled players was even developed in the early 1970s in Canada. Wheelchair Rugby, originally called Murderball, is a full contact and coed sport.
It is also a Paralympic event, and the 2005 film Murderball actually follows U.S. hopefuls as they fight their way to the Games in Athens, Greece. Rugby brings women together and empowers them to tackle (pun intended) obstacles they never thought possible. Now Wheelchair Rugby is played in over twenty countries around the globe!
There are also many teams and organizations which are dedicated to the LGBTQ community! There is a home for everyone on the rugby pitch.
5) Joining is easy:
Personally, I had only heard rumors about rugby and only started playing when I was a sophomore at West Chester University; needless to say, after my first week of practice the sport had captivated me. Since then I’ve had the privilege to run, sweat and scream alongside mothers in their thirties, fresh college graduates and even people who’ve never played the sport before in their lives.
People who are interested in joining but don’t know where to start needn’t fear. Joining a team for the first time is simple. All you need to become a rugger is a mouth guard and a pair of cleats. Once you have your gear, go ahead and join up with your local rugby club! They will be more than happy to teach you the rest of the techniques you will need to know.
I look forward to meeting you in a ruck!