Saturday’s A Rugby Day

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I’ve spent the past 4 years in the rugby world, and I can attest that rugby players are some of the toughest people in the world. As some descriptions go “it’s a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen”. Rugby keeps it’s violence on the field unlike soccer and it doesn’t apologize for it like the NFL. The game relies on speed, agility and strength – brute strength. It’s 80 minutes of beating the crap out of your opponent on the field, and partying together afterwards.

I was introduced to rugby through work, and had the chance to cover a few games for the local university’s team. Working the sidelines, its easy for the players to give me tips and pointers on what was happening on the field and to educate me on the injury rules. For example, the “Sir” does not stop the clock for an injury unless the player is in danger from the ongoing play, needs a blood sub, or the injury is significant. The other big change for me was that if I ran on the field for an injured player, they DID NOT have to exit the game! I could determine it was a minor injury and decide if they could keep playing and just run back off the field without disrupting the game. Definite change from the other sports I have covered. I no longer work the games, mostly because it’s stressful and I would rather relax and watch K. play. Sometimes I’m called out there because no other medical staff is there, but at that point it’s really just being a Good Samaritan. I’ll tape an ankle or thumb before the game for K.’s teammates because I have a bit more skill in that area, but I’m really just there to enjoy a good cider (Bold Rock is the best) with the girls and watch the game. {Disclaimer – as the wife, I’m required to provide medical services to K. which means that I have to stretch him before every game because “I do it better” and tape whatever injury he has that week. He always states that regardless if I have been drinking or not, I am the only one allowed to run on the field if he actually gets hurt. Oh boy.}

K. got lucky when he found someone who loved to watch rugby, and I got lucky that I found someone who played a sport I actually enjoyed watching! During rugby season, Saturday’s a rugby day {Disclaimer – during rugby season, Sunday is my day and K. isn’t allowed to complain about it}. Depending on where his game is, I can usually sneak an early morning workout in before heading out of town which I view as a pretty good compromise. We travel regularly for games or tournaments, but I just view it as mini vacations or times to visit new and old friends. Last weekend we saw my cousin in Raleigh (as mentioned in this post), every summer we stay at my Grandma’s house for the Cape Fear 7s rugby tournament, and last February we met up with some friends in Vegas for the International Rugby Sevens Tournament.  Rugby world is very welcoming, probably because of the huge social aspect of it. When you go to a tournament, there is a big welcome party. During the regular seasons, the home team hosts a social after the game. There are so many opportunities to connect with people. K has been playing with a new team this season, connecting with some guys he played with in college and guys he’s spent years playing against. For me, the guys and their families have been incredibly welcoming – even though I’m the weird one that paces the sidelines for a better view of the game and K. playing. I’m incredibly grateful for the people who have come into our lives through K. playing rugby.

Rugby is an incredibly tough game and I’ve seen a fair share of injuries. K. himself is usually pretty beat up come Sunday, even though he dishes out a lot of hits on other guys. After playing for years, who knows how much longer his body can hold up. He’s hoping to play into his sixties or until he’s carried off the field (eeek). Until then, I’m going to keep cheering him on, pacing the sidelines, and drinking with my rugby family – because SATURDAY’S A RUGBY DAY!


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