I love rugby. I may have mentioned that before.
However, the last time I played was in college which was five years ago. And that’s pretty close to the last time I exercised. You know with running, calisthenics and the like. (If you recall, P90X was a bust.)
So, I’ve now had about 5 or 6 practices, after work, with the Tempe Women’s Rugby team and I’m starting to notice a pattern.
Cardio and Calisthenics — The Bane of My Existence
A quick jog/run around the pitch and I’m feeling fine. I keep up all right with the other girls. But then comes the real workout: sprints, mountain climbers, mary janes, star jumpers, jump squats, jump lunges and other variations of muscle- and leg-burning drills. Come the end of this section of practice and I reaffirm how out of shape I am.
Drills — And My Self-Doubt
Even though it’s been years since I’ve played, I mess up the basic drills. Or what they call “basic.” But as I recall now, I’m pretty sure the drills we did in college weren’t as complex and there was much more gabbing going on. A lot.
All the girls have feedback for me: “run faster, place the ball sooner, go in lower.” Immediately I equate this to be that I’m just a screw-up. I should know this! I’ve played before.
Then it’s let slip how long some of the other girls have been playing or I’ve asked directly and my ego does a side-step to let humility in. I’m practicing with a Division One team and some of these girls have been playing between eight to 10 years, if not more.
There’s a lot to learn from them.
Scrimmage, Touch and Tackling
Everything that was being drilled in to us earlier is put in to play. This is the moment when I can either break my old habits. Sometimes I break them and sometimes I follow the rugby ball like a second grade soccer player.
But for the majority of this time I come back into my own and assure myself that I’m not that bad at rugby. Hell, I used to be called Crazy Shorts. (I have a new nickname now — more on that later.)
This is also the time when the ruggers share their knowledge (and love) of the sport and their patience. This is the Spring Season, the off-season, and the time to bring the recruits like me up to speed, and they are very patient with us.
End Of Practice
Sitting in my car and calling anyone who will listen (non-rugby players just don’t seem to get it) about how AWESOME practice was. How much I learned, how beat up my body feels (but how great it looks the next day) and how I’m so excited for the next beating, I mean, practice.
This is going to become a new mini-series wherein I’ll share my fantastic adventures in rugby. I’ll try to explain to you non-rugby players why the game is so amazing, the fascination with bruises … and so forth. Let me know if you ever have any questions about the sport of rugby!