Play rugby with the Brits
At this rate, I’ll be done with the bucket list before Fall Break! Yes indeed, I played full contact rugby with a British team. And no, I did not sustain any serious injuries, despite playing in my Chucks (running shoes haven’t come in the mail yet!) and being the American. It was the girls’ pre-season, so it was mostly conditioning, with some agility and endurance tests. I’m not as out of shape as I initially predicted. I’m basing that off of the fact that I wasn’t splayed out on the ground gasping for dear sweet air. We did get to try tackling, and there is something very primal about it. I learned one of the girls got red-carded last year for getting mad at a girl and tackling her by her neck, while another slapped a boy to the ground. What’s not to like about these girls? haha
The girls were all so welcoming and nice despite my lack of experience, as well as my two other American tag-alongs. Practice lasted around an hour and a half, but regular practices with the full team (20-25 girls) last a lot longer. I felt so invigorated by it all, and could definitely see the mass appeal the sport holds for most of the country! It’s so much more hardcore than football. Football uses so much padding to protect the players from injuries, rugby is bare-knuckles grappling in the mud with NO padding and a lot more lee-way with penalties. I also saw the men’s team practice in the next field over. What I initially thought I heard was men running full force into pads, and when I looked over I discovered the noise I had heard was someone getting ABSOLUTELY SLAMMED into the ground. Who says the Brits aren’t tough?
I’d definitely be interested in seeing a professional match, it’s a huge event here. The stadium is right next to the Avon River, and from what I hear and see around town, it’s the country’s main sporting event. They have entire stores dedicated to rugby gear and such. I can definitely say I want to learn more about it now! American football is fading fast for me. I think yelling for the ball in a British accent clinches it.