7 Reasons Why You Should Play Women's Rugby

7 Reasons Why You Should Play Women's Rugby

Yes Ladies, I'm looking at you.
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Okay, hear me out. You probably see "Women’s Rugby" and are instantly thinking two things: either we are a group of large, manly, ugly girls who run around a field hitting each other, or we play some form of lingerie rugby. I can tell you right now that neither of those is true. We are just like any other sports team (well, except we’re better). We are a group of strong individuals who sign up to play one of the hardest sports in the world, and we love it. Everyone who plays can agree that there is nothing better. But, just in case you need some more convincing, here are some of many reasons why you should take up the sport.

1. It's empowering

I can't even begin to describe the feeling you have when you are on that field. Playing rugby makes you feel fast, agile, and strong. It's physically and mentally straining, but the ability to push yourself to the limit is an incredible accomplishment. In women's rugby, you do tackle each other. It's scary at first, that much is true. Sometimes I still get scared and I've been playing for four years. But you go on the field, and you feel powerful. You feel like you have total control of your body, of your mind, and of the game. There is nothing like the feeling of tackling a girl, running with the ball, or scoring a try.

2. There are positions for everyone.

Believe me, there is literally a spot for any person regardless of their shape or size. Rugby teams are always a mixed bag. Our front row players are solid and powerful. Our locks are tall and strong. Our flankers are fast and tough. Our back line is quick, resilient, and have crazy endurance. I swear some girls could run forever. Even our scrum half who is 4'11 (and 3/4, but who's counting) found her niche. I am 5'4, relatively fast, and a good decision maker. That makes me perfect for my spot at #10, fly half. We don't care where you come from, what you like, or how you look. I promise you, there is a place for you.

3. It is fast paced.

I have to be honest with you. Some sports are really, really boring. The games last forever, and nothing really happens. Rugby, however, is never boring - and it is nothing like football. People always assume it is, but it's actually a lot harder. In rugby, there are no timeouts or dumb commercial breaks. It's 80 minutes of nonstop contact. The only time you get to rest is after somebody scores and it is for two minutes, maybe. You run, you tackle someone, you get up, you ruck, you run, you hit someone again, you ruck again, you run some more. Sometimes you scrum and it's a tangled mess of body parts, and you get up and do it all again. It doesn't stop. And, some people may tell you that "in football you get hit harder so they need a break." They clearly never got tackled by a 6'0, 300-pound girl and then had to get up and keep playing. It's awesome.

4. Rugby is hard work.

Rugby is a mental and physical game. It's tough, I'm not going to sugar coat it. You have to be prepared to put in hours of hard practices and training, ready to be tackled and to tackle, and always be supporting your players. You play in all conditions - rain, unbearable heat, even snow. You will feel sore and pain in places that you didn't know existed. You will get cuts, cleat marks, and bruises. Ice baths become your best friend. You get injured and you keep playing until they forcibly remove you from the field. But all of that feeling is so satisfying. The marks on your body become trophies that you show off. Knowing that you put in the work and pushed your body to it's limit is worth every moment.

5. The team.

Every single sport is going to say that they have the "best team in the whole world," but they're lying. You get very weirdly close to your rugby team that you really do become a family. You tackle each other at practice hard, and then tell them it was a great hit. You have team dinners where 50 pounds of food is consumed, but you're all still hungry. You party together and dance your hearts out. You tell each other everything and make friends you will keep forever. There is just something about beating people up on the field together that makes you closer than any other team ever will be.

6. The community.

Regardless of where you go, if you say that you play rugby you will instantly make friends. In another state, country, or continent, it doesn't matter. You will bond over your experiences, tell stories about your best games, and compare positions and strategies. The community that is built over this game is one that you will always be a part of. Once a rugby player, always a rugby player.

7. The sense of pride.

"Wait, you play rugby?" is probably my favorite question in the whole world. Hell yes I play rugby. Yes I tackle people. Yes I ruck. Yes I'm stronger than I look. But yes, I am still a normal 18 year old girl. I don't "look the part," but that doesn't mean as soon as I am on the field I won't kick your ass. I have so much pride for my sport, and I never fail to tell people that I play. Their reaction is what pushes me to be better. People I meet don't always believe me, but as soon as they see me and my team play, they gain instant respect for us. Women's rugby players are a large group of badass females who will have your back forever.

So there it is. The reasons why you should play the greatest sport to ever exist. You don't need any experience and you don't need to fit any mold. My teams have had former soccer and basketball players, cross country stars, a boxer and a wrestler, some dancers, and people who have never played a sport in their life. Yet, we all come together and we make a force to be reckoned with. The girls I have played with have changed my life. And that is by far my favorite part.

Cover Image Credit: Val Keefer

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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I'm Grateful My Dad Was My Coach, But I Wouldn't Want To Do It Again

It's not as great as it may sound.

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Soccer was always a huge part of my life. I started playing when I was 8-years old and I played on both the recreational and travel levels. Unfortunately, my sophomore year presented a scheduling conflict between soccer and theatre. So, at the end of my sophomore year, I made the decision to hang up my cleats and continue on with theatre.

In the almost 10 years on the field, however, I had quite the assortment of coaches. A coach who seemed like he couldn't be less thrilled to be in charge of a hoard of eight-year-olds, one who made us practice outside in the dead of winter and one who's pockets seemed to always be full of keys that would jingle all practice long.

But I've never had a coach quite as memorable as my dad.

Now, my dad has always been a big sports guy. He loves basketball, baseball, football and even golf, but he never really showed an interest in soccer, outside of watching me play. So when one of my old coaches was ejected from a game and it was either find a new coach in five minutes or forfeit, I was shocked to see Gary Hess volunteer. But he did, and from that moment on, my dad was my new coach. I had always wondered what it was like to have a parent as a coach. I had always imagined that it was a dream, you always had someone to practice with, you could help strategize for big games and you'd always be kind of a right-hand man on the field.

Boy was I wrong.

my dad was nothing if not a good coach. He had a good understanding of the game and he let us all try our hand at positions we were curious about but being his daughter presented some tricky situations. On more than one occasion, the short 15-minute ride from the soccer field back to our house after practice became a time for harsh critique and arguments that we often brought home to my mom... sorry mom.

That wasn't all though, I knew as an athlete that you were supposed to leave it all on the field. If your team won, soak it in and move on. If your team had a tough loss, be upset about it for a second and move on, but when your dad is your coach, it's a little harder to do.

After games I would get to hear all of his feedback, some good and some bad and even when his critiques weren't directed at me, they were directed at my teammates and friends and sometimes his harsh words and even his praise of other people was hard to hear. Of course, it didn't help that he stepped into the coaching job for a group of 14-year-olds who weren't always the easiest to deal with, me being probably the most difficult of all just because it's hard to separate your coach from your dad and your player from your daughter.

Despite our issues, we had a good time and as I got older and my dad got more comfortable with coaching and found his style, we were a much better team. We argued less, though every now and again we'd still but heads. I started to take direction more seriously and he started to understand how to communicate effectively with a group of young kids. We didn't ever have a superstar season but at the end of the day, we had a good time.

Good and bad, I wouldn't trade the years I spent playing soccer with my dad as the coach for anything. But if it came down to it again now I think I'd have to say thanks but no thanks. With that said though, he made me a better player and a better person so, thanks, dad.

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