On a typical Monday evening, where most students struggle to cope with the idea of starting a new week, one group of ladies is giving the phrase “hits like a girl” a painful new connotation.
The UM Club Women’s Rugby team practices on Monday and Wednesday evenings at the IM fields, running and taking hits to prepare for competition. They currently have about 20 active members and are the only full contact women’s club sport on campus.
There are several different ways that rugby can be played, but traditionally it is played in teams of 15 and incorporates elements of both football and soccer. Although not as popular in the U.S. as it is abroad, new teams are slowly forming at high schools and colleges nationwide.
“Florida is a great place to be if you are a women’s rugby player,” said Michelle Horevitz, current president of the club. “There’s some good variety in play between universities like FAU and USF, city clubs and even schools like Jupiter High School that have great programs.”
The club is still relatively young, this being only its third year as an official club at UM licensed under the Florida Rugby Union. Still, this group of girls are as close as any other organization on campus.
Megan Flynn, a captain on the squad, says that rugby is unlike any other sport she has participated in. She also says that due to the sport being so team-oriented, all 15 players need to be working together on the same level.
“The team isn’t just about practicing a few times a week; we try and do things outside of rugby,” Flynn said. “We are definitely more of a family than a team.”
Horevitz compared the women’s rugby team to one big sorority. After every game, the hosting team holds a social where, after an afternoon of yelling, hitting and feeling emotions on the field, the players all become acquainted with one another and build bonds.
Due to the club’s youth and the fact that rugby is not very well-known in the U.S., there are students who may not realize that the club exists or who simply do not know how to play the game.
“Virtually every girl that comes to a rugby club in college probably has close to zero knowledge of the game,” said Elizabeth Schlaerth, coach for the women’s rugby team. “When in life are women encouraged to play a contact sport?”
However, Schlaerth and the team say this should not discourage those who are interested from joining.
“I only went to two practices before my first game and knew nothing,” said Amy Alexander, a regular member of the team. “There is no reason to worry because we will teach you and show you that it’s a lot of fun.”
Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at email@example.com
Quick facts about Rugby
4 The ball may only be passed laterally or backwards
4 A player may kick the ball forward at any time
4 Field is 110 yards long and 75 yards wide
4 Play is continuous like soccer
4 Where: the IM fields behind Hecht and Stanford
4 When: Mon. 6- 8 p.m., Wed. 6:30-8:30 p.m.
4 Contact: Michelle Horevitz firstname.lastname@example.org for more information