Family Matters

by Diana Timmermans |

Rugby is a game of contradictions. In order to move the ball forward, you must pass the ball backwards; it is a full contact sport but you wear no extra padding and you spend 80 minutes roughing the other team up only to hang out and eat a meal with them afterwards.
“Rugby puts 15 players against another 15 for two 40 minute periods of continuous play. The ball must be ran or kicked forward and whoever has possession of the ball may be tackled. There is no blocking. Points are scored by touching the ball to the ground in the ‘try’ zone at the end of the field, or by kicking the ball between the uprights,” Liberty United Girls Rugby Coach Krista Kastler said, to sum up Rugby.
Though many people have never heard of it, Rugby is continuing to grow in the United States and the rest of the world. Some people consider it to be a cross between American football and soccer, or football without pads, but it is nothing of the sort. Rugby is what made the foundations of football and like football, it has a line of scrimmage that the offensive team cannot pass unless they have the ball (which must be passed backwards.) Rugby is most famous for its scrum similar to hiking the ball on the offense and blocking the defensive line in football.
“Rugby is a lot better than I thought it would be. I wasn’t so sure going into it but I love it now. I was nervous about going into it not knowing many people but I love how everyone is so close because of it. It has brought a lot of people together,” sophomore Sammi Siegel said. “We may hurt each other tackling, and yell at each other to get it together, but at the end of each game it only brings us closer together as sisters and a team.”
It is true; Rugby is more than what meets the eye. Delving deeper into the game there are so many different techniques used to roughen the opposing team. For instance, tackling above the shoulder and leaving your feet to make a tackle are prohibited.
“Rugby is a very family-oriented sport; we are all a team. We are all friends, even though we hit people on the pitch and act like we hate them. In actuality, after the game we are pretty cool with each other,” sophomore Delaney Cazel said.
Just like every team sport, coaches want players to play like a team, but for Rugby it just seems to come naturally to every player of the game.
“Everyone is such a good sport and people don’t snap at each other; you keep in mind that these are your sisters or your brothers. It is not an ‘I’m in this for me’ thing; it is a ‘you are playing for your team’ thing,” senior Jacque Stichnot said.
Rugby’s philosophy is most definitely based upon sportsmanship and mutual respect; Liberty’s Rugby coaches are not the stereotypical coaches who get up in your face and yell at you. They treat you with the utmost respect.
“The concept of hosting the opposing team for food after games definitely enhances sportsmanship. You don’t want to do anything in the game that you’d have to face up to after the game when chatting with that person over dinner,” Kastler said.
Almost every American dad wants his son growing up to be a football player or at least a football fan, but when American parents hear about Rugby having no pads they tend to worry about what their child is getting into.
“There are not misconceptions about Rugby in France because it is the second main sport, so we don’t have people saying ‘it’s very violent’. My father was very happy when I said I was going to play Rugby. He didn’t say ‘you shouldn’t play rugby, you will hurt yourself,’” senior Stan Girard said.
Rugby is always welcoming new players throughout the spring season to become a part of this great game.
“Going into Rugby as a new player is scary at first because I didn’t know how to play Rugby at all. I later figured out from the more experienced players. Even hearing about all the injuries, I still thought it sounded fun,” junior Mike Spero said.
Boys and girls don’t play together on the same team but nevertheless they are a family. For those interested in coming out to play Rugby, you can join the boys team on Tuesdays and Thursdays from four to six or the girls team on Tuesdays from four to six and Saturdays from 9 to 11 on the practice fields.