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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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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The Supreme Court Legalized Sports Betting But This Doesn't Help Shoeless Joe Or Pete Rose

They still won't get in on integrity issues.
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In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made gambling on sports illegal outside of the state of Nevada. The major sports leagues (the NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, and Major League Baseball) all stood by this law for 20 years. However, New Jersey governor Chris Christie set out to allow sports gambling in state casinos.

The leagues would start legal proceedings against Christie and the state in 2012. They would win every step of the way until the United States Supreme Court took over in June 2017. The trial ended on Monday with a 6-3 decision in favor of the state. Now the precedent has been set for other states to establish legal sports betting, and New Jersey, along with a handful of other states, plan on doing so.

With PASPA being deemed unconstitutional, what does it mean for players who may or may not have been implicated, and then banned, from their sport for gambling?

There are, of course, two names that come to mind. The first is Shoeless Joe Jackson, an outfielder with the Chicago White Sox who was one of the eight players indicted by the Cook County Court system for throwing the 1919 World Series. The other is Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader who was accused of throwing games when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

It isn't a question of whether or not they are Hall of Fame worthy players. They both are: Jackson was kicked out with the third highest career batting average ever at .356, while Rose knocked over 4000 hits in his career. Now the question is whether or not the Court ruling will be enough to have the writers overlook this.

Let's start with Jackson. It is hard-pressed to believe that Jackson actually knew what was going on: he was an illiterate "rube" from South Carolina. On top of that, none of the players knew what was going on half the time. In the Series, he hit .375. He slugged the only homer of the whole series. He did not commit in error out in left field. Suffice to say, if he was actually trying to lose, he would have been trying a lot harder than that.

On the other hand, he did take the money. He wanted $20,000 but only got $5,000. He then told the Grand Jury everything that he knew, even if he was liquored up at the time. Even when he tried to do right, he threw the integrity of the game right out the window.

Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the game's first commissioner, banned Jackson and the other players for life for being involved with gambling.

Let's look at Rose now, who was investigated for gambling activities in the 1980s. It came out that he did, in fact, bet on games during the 1987 season. If he were to cover bets for the whole season, he would have betted on 98 games during the season (with the other 64 that he didn't bet on them being when either Mario Soto or Bill Gullickson were starting on the mound).

The law may not have been in place at the time, but that doesn't matter. They were active participants in the games. They were also active participants in the gambling. They wrecked the integrity of the game, and should not be in the Hall of Fame. The voting committees for the Hall of Fame have it right: that players on the ineligible list should not be in.

In the words of Pete Grathoff for the Kansas City Star:

"While sports gambling will be legal in states other than Nevada, none of the professional leagues will allow players, managers, coaches or executives to wager on their games. That's what Rose did and why he won't have his ban overturned"

Cover Image Credit: Ghost Presenter via Unsplash

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