If you're a rugby player, you've probably ran into a couple of misconceptions about what rugby's all about. Here's a couple of things players have heard time and time again.
1. "Oh, rugby, it's like football right?"
We've all heard this one before. "Yeah, rugby it's like football and soccer?"
No. Rugby is like rugby.
While soccer involves kicking a ball around with the foot to score a goal and football involves running around with or passing an oval-shaped ball, rugby has a distinct set of rules. In rugby, you cannot throw the ball forward. You go at it raw. No shin-guards, no helmet or armor. There is no equipment, except for a mouth-guard. You can only gain ground by running with or kicking the ball. Compared to other sports, rugby is a faster-paced and more try-orientated game. Rugby has moves known as tackles, rucks and scrums. The tackle is designed to dispossess an opponent of the ball, to stop the player from gaining ground towards the goal or stop them from carrying out what they intend. In situations like that, either a ruck or maul can occur. A ruck is formed when at least one player from each side bind onto each other with the ball on the ground between them. This binding, is generally formed by locking shoulders while facing each other. Additional players may join the ruck, but must do so from behind the rearmost foot of the hindmost teammate in the ruck. A scrum involves restarting play after a minor infringement. Eight players from each team, bind together in three rows and interlocking with the free opposing teams forwards. The ball is then fed into the gap between the two forward packs and they both compete for the ball.
2. "Why would you wanna play a sport where you get injured all the time?"
Hardcore ruggers have heard this phrase before, even when recruiting others.
"Nah, I don't want to join rugby."
"I just can't imagine you guys playing out there and getting injured all the time. I don't wanna receive a concussion, I can't afford it. Are you guys like suicidal or something?"
Whoa, whoa. Stop right there. This is the number one phrase that hits ruggers right in the gut and sets their teeth on edge. It's an insult, really for all the hard work and dedication they put onto the field. First of all, Rugby isn't about getting injured all the time. It's not like we intentionally go out there to get hammered. Second, you're missing the point if you think rugby is all about receiving injury. Rugby is about establishing trust with each other, supporting each other and being there for each other. It's about making your team your family. It's about pushing your body to the breaking point. You don't necessarily have to be the top player or in shape to play rugby. All that's asked is that you try your best and make a commitment to the team. True, injury is unavoidable but the experience and the lasting relationship is worth every bit of it in the end. You'll have a family that's with you and has your back 100% of the time.
3. "Rugby's all about hazing, getting booze, drunk or being social."
While rugby can make you socialize and go out more, it's not about getting drunk, being bullied or pressured to work hard or hazing. This sort of ties into my previous comments about the 2nd misconception. Rugby is about establishing a trustful relationship with your teammates. And those teammates can turn out to be a family for you. That means getting to know them both on the field and off. It's all about the team and what makes up the team.
4. "Rugby is hard/easy sport."
Depending on what division you're in or whether you're part of a club, I've found that in my experience, rugby can be an interesting combination of both hard and easy. That is, you can go at your own pace and discipline yourself more or less. No one pressures you to do anything. Just be there and ready for your teammates. Make a commitment every once in a while. A usual workout involves jogging, burpees, push-ups, leg workout, tackling or scrums. Even so, the workout is still worth it because you can still challenge yourself to do better and overcome any obstacles. Best workout is the one where you go beyond your comfort zone and try your best.
5. "Rugby is for men."
Last but not least, and my personal favorite, rugby is a men's sport. Pretty girls shouldn't have to play dirty. Please! When girls take it to the field, it becomes a battlefield. I say this from experience playing soccer and rugby, and believe me, it gets dirty. If you haven't see a lady start and finish a fight, especially when playing on the field, oh-ho, my sweet summer child, you're in for a surprise. They can sweat, take a hit and bleed just, if not more than guys can.