Admit it. If you have never played rugby, been to a match, or worse, have never even heard the term until reading this, I would assume you probably are not locked in to the Michigan State club team’s upcoming end of the season match against Illinois, or the subsequent Big Ten Finals in November.
It is okay, now is the perfect time to pay attention. But let’s back up.
For those of you who know nothing about the sport, I wonder how you have made it through life as a sports fan thus far, because you have been missing out on a fast-paced, action-packed masterpiece of a game that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire way. That is what someone who is really into rugby would say, at least I think. Truth is I have never watched the sport, or been to a match either, but that is okay too. We will learn together.
In order to try and understand a sport I have never watched, my first inclination was to learn about the people who play it. I know it is remedial, but this is my training seminar as well, so you will just have to play along. I enlisted the help of Todd Else, team president of Michigan State’s club rugby team, and also got a few different players’ opinions for this project.
Together, we compiled a list of six things newbies like myself, and even rugby experts out there should know, if they did not already, about the players at MSU. Here is what we came up with.
1. If the sky is out, the thighs are out, no matter the temperature.
Rugby shorts are shorter than conventional gym shorts, and any baggy equipment slows you down and can cause you to be tackled easier.
2. Limping to class on Monday–and every other day–is just a part of life.
Saturday is a rugby day, so the days following can be pretty brutal, especially if it is a physical match.
3. They hit people, FOR FUN!
Else and the other players left this one extremely vague, which I took as, “If you see an innocent bystander get blasted into a trash can at the International Center during lunch, don’t think anything of it. We’re just doing us.”
4. The only way to explain your bumps and bruises is “Rugby.”
5. They are not teammates, but brothers.
Bonds forged on the pitch are unbreakable, and the love of the game brings people of all backgrounds together. SU proudly has athletes of all studies from Fisheries and Wildlife, to Supply Chain Management, to Kinesiology.
6. Rugby players can tackle anything.
From the field, to the books, to even the business world, ruggers can “tackle” it all. It is a non-stop, 80 minute contest, and you must make decisions on the fly and roll with them no matter what. This forces players to be 100 percent concentrated on the pitch, and playing unfocused can lead to loss of possession of the ball and/or being scored on. This same focus and drive applies to our everyday life.
There you have it. Now you can go impress your roommates, teachers and even the girl next door with these fun facts about the rugby players at MSU. The team takes on Illinois Nov. 8 at home for their final match of the season before the Big Ten finals later next month. Do not be afraid if that is the first match you have ever attended, and if you see me there say! ”hello.” will be mine too.
Haywood Liggett is the multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.