Devon McFeaters

JRNM 151

Photo courtesy of the Avon Lake Rugby Club The Avon Lake Rugby Club vs. Rocky River. In rugby, the purpose of a scrummage, or scrum, is to fairly restart play after a stop in a match.

Photo courtesy of the Avon Lake Rugby Club
The Avon Lake Rugby Club vs. Rocky River. In rugby, the purpose of a scrummage, or scrum, is to fairly restart play after a stop in a match.

Sports have a history of teaching people life lessons. Sometimes the lessons you learn from sports will be carried with you for the rest of your life. I play for Avon Lake’s Rugby Club, where we are just coming off of a state championship season. This season we have kicked it off right, currently standing undefeated at 6-0. Rugby has taught me so much, from teamwork and determination, to always carrying myself with pride and dignity. After a match, leaving emotions on the field is vital. Just like in real life, if you get discouraged you cannot let that interrupt the path to success. Sports teach us new lessons all the time; they teach how to be a successful individual.

An old-school English game, rugby was developed in the 19th century by English public schools. A game that can be explained as a mix between football and soccer, it begins with two 15-man teams. Somewhat different from football, rugby has 11 men on each side and no pads. It’s a fast paced sport which is always moving forward.

Rules of the game

Rugby is played on a soccer field, which is bigger than a football field. The ball is oval shaped and must be passed backwards or laterally, keeping things moving forward at all times. Kicking the ball is also an option. A score is called a ‘try’ and you must ‘touch’  the ball down in the end zone. This is actually where the term ‘touchdown came from in football. A try is worth five points and a conversion by kicking the ball through the uprights after a try is worth two.

It is fast paced and the sport is picking up steam, becoming increasingly popular in the United States. The sport is growing quickly in high school, too. Ohio is host to 7 divisions of rugby throughout the state. It has a boy’s division one, two and three, then it also has a B-League and D-League. Girl’s rugby consists of division one and two. The sport is growing rapidly as it becomes more and more exposed.

No team in sight

Lorain County Community College does not currently have a rugby club and I believe that having one would bring many benefits to campus. The college’s lack of a rugby club was brought to the attention of LCCC’s Athletic Director Katie Marquard. “We do not currently have a rugby team because of a lack of interest,” Marquard said. “It is also very hard to put together a team like that, it takes a lot of time. If interest picked up, it would be interesting to see what could happen,” she said.

The difference between rugby and other varsity sports is simple, most rugby teams are considered club teams. Marquard explained the difference between a club sport and a varsity sport. “Varsity sports have certain requirements that have to be met in order for people to participate,” she said. “You must carry a certain grade point average and be taking at least 12 credit hours for the semester. Being a varsity sport is directly related to being a school team, funding can be taken from the athletic department. A club team has fewer regulation as we only require six credit hours,” Marquard explained. Having a rugby team could bring an added dimension to LCCC’s athletics.

Lessons in life

Rugby has taught many people life lessons. Former LCCC student, 21-year-old Brennon O’Connell, never got a chance to play rugby until he made it to Kent State University. “Rugby has taught me so much about myself and what limits I can reach,” Brennon said. “I wish when I was at LCCC for the two years, that we had a team. It is very valuable to combat stress and helps keep me focused on school.” The benefits of rugby can be different for everyone, O’Connell said. “I have learned so much about camaraderie too, the people I have met through this game will be my friends for life.”

‘Leaving it all on the field’ is one of the most important things about rugby. After matches, teams have what is known as a social. The home team prepares food for the visiting team and they speak about the game. It is a totally different atmosphere than most are used to from other sports. Avon Lake’s Head Rugby Coach Steve Maynard said that rugby has allowed for many opportunities in his life. “Rugby has enabled me to travel around and see different places with a group of friends that I will have for the rest of my life,” Maynard said. “It has taught me too many lessons to even keep count, and it has become a part of my everyday life. It helps you become a better man,” he said.

The sport itself is very physical due to the fact that pads are not worn. Interestingly enough, injuries happen far less than almost any other contact sport. All that is worn in rugby is a mouthpiece, but players are not looking to blow out knees or hit head to head. This allows players to experience the game for much longer when compared to a football career. Some people even play rugby for 20 years, like Maynard.

Jeremiah Edwards, 18, is new to the game but fell in love with it instantly. “I have always been competitive,” Edwards said. “I have done track, football and basketball, I was open to trying out rugby, even though I was a bit nervous about getting hit with no pads on. The result was awesome, I fell in love with the game so quickly. It has taught me so much about myself and about life,” Edwards said.

Rugby may not be the most popular sport in the world, but it teaches life lessons like no other. Being knocked down can be hard to get up from, but rugby teaches players how to do that, literally and figuratively. Adding a rugby club of some sort would be extremely valuable to LCCC and its student body because of the things a person can learn from a simple game.