In the U.S., the sport of rugby is not very popular for a multitude of reasons. Mostly because we Americans like to identify with American football as our favorite contact sport. And that's great! Football is a great sport. But as a fellow rugby player myself, I will say rugby gave me an opportunity to excel athletically that I never had before. Growing up, I was a basketball player my whole life. However, my basketball career was very lackluster, but I didn't want to give up the sport. Until I found rugby. Rugby revitalized my passion for competition, and it gave me something to work for as I saw a future for myself in the sport. And in other parts of the world, rugby is a sport that millions of people watch. In this article, I will list six reasons why everyone should play rugby.
1. The passion for the game.
Ask any rugby player what they think about rugby, and, somewhere along the lines of their explanation, they will probably talk about how much they love the game. That's because rugby is not a game to be taken lightly. Rugby is something you need to be fired up for to play to the best of your ability. One of the first things my college rugby coach told me was, "If you play scared, you're going to get hurt." So naturally, I don't play scared. And to sum up this point, I think the best way to do so is to use one of my favorite quotes from poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Nothing great in life can ever be accomplished without enthusiasm."
2. Everyone is useful somewhere.
In a sport that is most popularly played with 15 people on the field at one time, there is obviously a wide range of positions that need to be played. And each position comes with different physical requirements. For example, my primary position (for those who know rugby) is called Number Eight. A Number Eight should be an all-around good ball player with solid ball skills and the ability to play both offense and defense. Another important position would be Fly-Half, a position that calls for great passing skills and a strong knowledge of the game —comparable to a Quarterback in American Football in the sense of running the offense. My point is that anyone and everyone has a position in rugby that they are best suited for, and everyone can be helpful to the overall team game plan. As mentioned in the introduction, I found a future in rugby. I'm sure that many other people could relate, and you, too, could find an athletic rebirth in the game.
3. Rugby is a great way to release frustration.
One of my favorite parts of rugby is playing defense. Although you don't always deliver spine-tingling hits, it is rewarding to get in on the action, and your teammates will appreciate you for getting down and dirty. And tackling is not the only contact involved in rugby. Rucking, scrummaging and running the ball all require some toughness to be successful. And after a long, hard week at school, I look forward to going out on the pitch and leaving it all out there so I can get rid of some frustration in a good way. Any athlete knows there are those people who aren't exactly "good sports." Well, the great thing about rugby is that you can light them up on a tackle or run them over with the ball, and it's perfectly legal.
4. Rugby players respect other rugby players.
As any rugby player would also tell you, rugby is a sport where you can make instant friends. Whether it be joining a new team or just chatting up some fellow ruggers, a rugger will instantly make friends with another rugger if they both play the sport. This is because you have both shed blood, sweat and tears for the same cause. There are unwritten rules in the game of rugby, and respect is definitely one of those unwritten rules. Nobody wants to be associated with a "bad guy" that nobody has respect for. Even if their game is great on the field, the way they carry themselves will have a stronger effect on people. But if you carry yourself like a professional on and off the field, then you will have respect from your fellow ruggers.
5. Rugby is for women, too.
For those people who don't know much about rugby, despite the physicality of the sport, rugby is a women's sport, too, and a very entertaining one at that. I mean, it is an Olympic sport after all, so it has to be legit, right? So for any woman who wants to find a sport to play, rugby is definitely an option. The same rules in this list apply for women's rugby, and people get fired up for women's rugby, especially fellow male ruggers. Plus, in the U.S., since rugby is not very developed, a woman looking to pursue a career in rugby definitely has an opportunity to take her career pretty far. And for those women looking to break the glass ceiling, there's nothing better to prove your toughness compared to men than playing the toughest sport in the world.
6. Rugby is a brotherhood/sisterhood.
For those of you readers who are/were in a Greek life organization in college, what would you say about your brothers and sisters? The large majority would say only good things about those they call family. Rugby is the same way. I know from personal experience that some of my best friends are my rugby teammates, and when I became one of them, they accepted me into their family with open arms. I have made many connections through the sport, and making the decision to play is a decision that I will never regret. Although my team and I go through some tough times, the important thing is that we do it together.