Special to the Record
People ask me a lot why I – a girl – play rugby. A game that appears to be so aggressive and brutal, a game for barbarians. That type of question is part of the reason that I love rugby – it allows people to re-think their assumptions about what it means to be a woman and to play rugby. It’s awesome watching the rookies join, totally unsure, asking themselves what they’re doing here. Not being able to run more than a lap or do push-ups. I watch them morph during the season and see that being strong and fit makes them more beautiful and that tackling other women into the ground on the weekends not only doesn’t compromise femininity, it increases self-confidence and assertiveness.
There are not a lot of things in our society besides rugby that allows women to be truly physically aggressive, to use our bodies in the same unafraid, assertive way that men use theirs all the time.
My question to you is: why not rugby?
Rugby is one of the most skilled games out there. Not really that brutal or aggressive once you know the game. Someone once told me, “You can’t be champions with anything less than 30 players.” It sounds crazy but it’s true: more than any other sport I’ve played, winning a rugby game requires the full dedication of everyone on the field, not just one or two stars. You have to trust and have confidence that your teammates with be there to support you. You have 15 players on the field, each with a different role but organizing together each for the same goals. Teamwork and coordination is everything!
To me there is nothing like leaving your heart and soul on the field fighting a rival, then to be socializing and enjoying some food and drinks after with the very same people. This combination of trust and camaraderie is one reason I rely on, respect, and admire the women on my team as much as I do. Almost everyone I know who plays rugby counts the relationships they have made through the sport as one of the main reasons they stay with it.
I love going to training after a long day, putting everything behind me in the rucks, mauls and passes. I love the feeling when I can make that tackle, run faster, and push myself that little bit further. I love the smell of the pitch in the morning of a home game, feeling the combined nervousness and excitement in the preparation for going head-to-head with another team.
I love the feeling you have in the last minutes of a game, when you rely on everything you have to pull through for just one more hard scrum, and you’re breathing really hard and you don’t know if you can last – and then one of you does something amazing. At that point there is no way you’d want to be anywhere else in the world.
Ten years from now I may not be playing, but I know I will always be a part of my rugby club in some way. My teammates are like my family: we have made bonds that spread to other areas of our lives and know that these bonds will be strong for years to come.
Rugby is not just any game, it’s a game for life!
The Comox Valley Kickers practise on Tuesday and Thursday nights 6:30 at the Fallen Alders field on Royston Road and encourage anyone interested in playing to come check it out.