Rugby Adventures – Mini Series

I love rugby. I may have mentioned that before.

Mount Saint Mary's Womens Rugby Team Group Photo

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

I survived.

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!


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