[guest blog post via Kerri Steen!]
Rugby players are a different breed of humans. This is why they love their
sport so much.
For me, finding the “different” breed of humans was and is part of why I love rugby. When you
talk to other ruggers, they express the same idea. It is different here in North America, where
rugby has been gaining momentum for the past 20 years.
There is a rugby revolution, so to speak with the ruggers leading the charge getting people to
learn about and play this game. This is great because of its reintroduction to the Olympic games
in the Sevens format.
It is also great because it gets the kids involved and many of them need a sport and often in our
schools, the competition to get on a team and even get play time is fierce and leaves a lot of kids
without this outlet. Rugby is great because there is a place in rugby for everyone!
A couple of reasons I listed when I started playing were that the rugged physical nature of the
sport serves to attract players and it's a fitness sport as well as a thinking person's sport.
Moreover, the social and fraternal ideals of this “gentleman’s sport” allows me to feel a part of
something and something that I know will find me kinship wherever I go in the world. I have
heard others echo this sentiment as they have experienced it throughout their travels.
Rugby moves me and those who I know who love it too. There is something that you just cannot
put your finger on when you try to explain even though I have been known to drop everything to
educate anyone and everyone who wants to know about it. This I know because I just did it
yesterday at the gym, explaining answers to their questions and feeling endorphins surge merely
from my passion for this sport.
I have met so many people at all ages and have recruited them to the sport of rugby. I never find
it a “hard sell”. Rugby is a magical sport and a lifestyle marked by its community. Sure, I love
sports, and in fact have played on many teams, but my rugby team is my love. People who know
rugby love it, respect it, admire it and live it.
When my brother first started playing, he was in his first match and he touched a player like one
does in American NFL football, and the person he touched did not have the ball. Play had to be
stopped, he was embarrassed when it was clearly noted from the sidelines as well as the other
players and the ref that it was because of him. When he explained this story to me when I was
asking about how I was ever going to get this game in my head, he related this story. When he
told this story, I saw a strong, adroit fella who was quite skilled at rugby show me some
humility. He also explained to me that I needed to press on and keep playing in every match I
could and then one day, I would have what he aptly named (and I later stole when I coach) “a
rugby epiphany”. It is at this time in every rugger’s life when they hear angels sing (or
something epic) and realise that they get it! All of the drills and all of the training (Mr. Miyagi
waxes on and off) have clearly been for this moment and then there is no looking back. You are
in it forever.
I also think ruggers love rugby because it is symbolic nationally and at a patriotic level in the
USA. When Mark Bingham showed his mettle on Flight 93 and rallied with the others, he made
indelible the mark that rugby has on my soul. Even before the call to wear our jerseys on flights,
I was doing it and I make sure I continue to do it now.
I am a rugger, a rugby player. I have learned so much about myself through strong training and
following the laws set forth for rugby. I am a rugger both on and off the pitch and I will never
give up talking about rugby and educating about rugby or throwing a pint back after rugby.
There is a place in rugby for everyone. And your gear is right here!