Intro to the Rugby World

So the next topic I am going to talk about is another love of mine. Besides living and breathing art I also live to play rugby. Even though it is a long shot I want to play semi-pro or professional someday. My ultimate goal is to play in the olympics now that it has been brought back to the summer olympics (2016). It may sound like a long shot to most people but it is actually very doable. You just need to know the right people in the right places to get a tryout spot. It use to be much harder to be apart of this amazing sport here in the U.S. However, since rugby has become one the fastest growing sports in america this last year you can find many clubs pretty much anywhere. You can actually find plenty right here in Minnesota (mainly in the cities besides college teams spread out everywhere). We are even getting professional team right here in Minnesota. They will partake in the first ever professional major league game in the U.S. (That right there is a big deal).

Anyways, I have played rugby for 7 years and I do not plan to stop any time soon. I was one of the lucky ones who got to play all throughout my high school career then help develop a women’s team right here in Marshall, Mn. I have been a captain 4 of those years, treasurer and vice president 2 years and president/coach the remainder of that time (sometimes I was more than one thing at a time). I am proud to say that the worst injury I got was a pocket of swelling by my Achilles tendon (due to a double tackle that was a little on the illegal side). That is usually the worst anyone gets hurt (swelling and pulled tendons) because as long as you play the game right you should never get anything more than that (plus some scraps, bruises and maybe feeling sore the next day).

Even though we are a physical sport it is a myth that rugby causes the most concussions out of all the sports in the world. The number of concussions in rugby do not even compare to other sports right here in the U.S. (and they wear more padding than we do!). Rugby is a physical sport but not dangerous as long as you play the game right (like I stated before). You need to think with your head while also using your body to your best ability. We try and teach each and every player the rights and wrongs of each play scenario possible on the field so they do not get hurt. Although I will not lie accidents and weird situations can happen just like in any other sport which can cause injury. Overall, there is a difference between a physical sport and a dangerous sport and everyone needs to start learning the difference.

Recently I have seen a couple of articles online and in the Star Tribune about different forms of rugby. This makes me really excited because that means that rugby is becoming more  and more well-known to talk about on a regular basis! I am not going to lie, I physically clipped out every article and taped them to my wall since I was so excited to see this much about rugby in one month of the Star Tribune. The articles I have seen so far are very informative of the sport of rugby and help debunk some myths associated with the sport. The articles included in the Star Tribune talk about many aspects of rugby. One talks about rugby 7’s, another about concussions in rugby and another about wheelchair rugby (since there is a quad rugby tournament in the cities soon). Having this many articles in this small amount of time is amazing! It also means that people are willing to take the time to learn more about the awesome sport in general. For me it is nice to know that people are starting to write more and more about rugby and helping spread to word and understanding of this sport within the U.S.

Below I have posted most of the articles that I have read lately. Sadly I could not find the Rugby 7’s one online but I do have it physically if any of you want to read it (I could try scanning it on to my computer also). Now most of you might be thinking “I don’t even know what she is talking about!! What is rugby?” I will tell you right now that no it is NOT the sport with the netted sticks (that is lacrosse) and no it is NOT the one with the horses (that is polo). **Yes I have been asked those questions before**. No it is NOT a cross between soccer and football, it is just flat out Rugby. It is its own sport and was actually the grandfather to most sports out there. Just a few being american football, hockey, basketball, water polo, the list goes on and on.

My next post for the week will go into the history and different forms of rugby that exist. For now I leave you with the a little bit of my personal experience with this sport. Before rugby I never really felt like I belonged in other sports and believe me I tried pretty much everything (besides cross country and track). I just never seemed to be as good as the rest of the girls (no matter how much I practiced). They would all be the same height, shape and athletic type for the sport while I just seemed to stand out in one way or another. But rugby is different they literally take anyone no matter what shape, size and athletic ability. The best part is that there will always be a spot for you no matter how much your body might change. When I joined rugby I finally felt accept for who I am and my body type, it actually motivated me to get in better shape and my confidence when through the roof because of the acceptance and support. Granted I did gain the freshmen 15 when I got to college but that didn’t matter cause I knew that I still had a place on the team somewhere, no matter what size I was. All you have to do is stay positive, try your hardest and be willing to constantly improve your game (cause you are constantly learning something new in rugby) and you will be fine. Rugby is not about just you being the best person for yourself but for your whole team and the rugby community as a whole. We are a family and we will always have each others backs no matter what.

But that is a whole another aspect of rugby that I will also get into in my next post. I will also address other things like socials, more myths about rugby and some more personal experience. Just remember I am always open to questions and I always love informing people about rugby so do not be afraid to ask questions. Like I say to the girls on the rugby team all the time “there is no such thing as a stupid question in rugby”

Till next time ruck on! (No I did not spell “rock” wrong, “ruck” is a rugby term that I will explain in the next post)

Here are the links:

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/sports/2014/11/10/rugby-continues-americas-fastest-growing-sport/18830397/ (Article about the fastest growing sports in america as of 2014)

http://nationalrugbyfootballleague.com (Site about the new professional team in Minnesota, the second newest article talks the most about the development of the team)

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/289857671.html (The article in the Star Tribune about concussions in rugby)

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/289953631.html (Article in the Star Tribune about wheelchair rugby)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beth-leipholtz/female-rugby-player_b_5361699.html (this is more on a personal note, it is 14 things that being a female rugby player has taught me. I can say for sure that they are all true and I mean REALLY true!)

Also here are a couple pictures of my history in rugby (I am in every picture but I’m showing the pictures to mainly show off both of the awesome teams I have been able to be a part of)

205412_3863834201673_1007808203_nMy High School Team (Orono Nightmare Rugby) 1493152_10201741569562639_1594494242_n10629686_10154638311505249_3423036019114216341_n My College Team (SMSU Women’s Rugby)

28216_1501793348898_8262101_n1383727_611106252273383_31345488_n  Some action shots of both my teams

313055_139303842832117_238692062_n and a senior picture (I had to take a couple in my rugby uniform of course!)

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