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.