Thursday, January 2, 2014

More Info on Jess!

My rugby history isn’t particularly long but what I don’t have in regard to years or extensive training programs I have made up for in sheer determination and love for the sport. My first exposure to rugby (and the people who love rugby) was in Australia nearly 12 years ago. I loved the culture, contact, the social team building, and camaraderie.  Ironically enough, I opted to play Aussie Rules Football instead (I know I know, what a ninny but hey still a contact sport!). I came home though toting my little rugby ball with me and there it sat in my garage until I happened to sit down in a graduate class in Wilmington, NC next to the person who became one of my closest friends and biggest champions for what I could potentially do on the pitch! He convinced me to get out to touch with the local men’s club in town and it’s been RUGBY LOVE ever since!

I started to travel literally everywhere with the Cape Fear Men’s Rugby Club.  Any and all rugby travel, no matter the distance or event, I went to. I absorbed everything I could, constantly practiced, watched video, ran drills, and before long started jumping on women’s teams that I would encounter along the way. The men quite literally taught me all the skills I needed to know. I never lacked for guidance both good and the otherwise questionable.  Without them I would certainly not have the love of the sport, knowledge, and appreciation for the rugby culture that I do.

With no women’s team in town, I was limited in what and who I was able to play with but eventually got recruited by miss Maddy Clark and the Charlotte Harlots after impressing her at a holiday 7s tournament. Much like the Cape Fear men, those gals adopted me in true rugger fashion with no questions asked and gave me the great honor of getting to sport their jersey on my first official team!

After a couple of years of being a “professional” rugby whore for no less a dozen or so teams, I decided it was time to kick start the program back in Wilmington, NC for the 7s season. The local university, UNC-Wilmington, had a solid rugby program with many of the girls reaching graduating age and invested in getting a Women’s Cape Fear side started. With their boundless effort and help we were able to get a roster of 19 girls together and had an amazing experience together that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Since then I have transitioned jobs and am now based out of New Orleans and play with the Louisiana Lagniappe’s (Because we are a little something extra!), a combination team of New Orleans and Baton Rouge women. They alone are the only thing I knew I could count on when I moved to a city I have never been to without knowing a soul and, sure enough, they are proving again why there can possibly be no other sport that provides you with an instant family that is more inclusive, supportive, challenging, and fun loving.

I consider it an honor to have played with so many groups of amazing men and women. Each one has given me something new to consider, a new challenge to face, or a new skill to master. With every new group I meet I am reminded about how much I truly love the mentality, toughness, and culture that goes along with being called a “Rugger” and I have no doubt whatsoever that the Stars will be another beautiful addition to my rugby family.

No comments:

Post a Comment