How Rugby Changed the Game and Made College Amazing

How Rugby Changed the Game

The beginning of freshman year was tough. I was 4 hours away from home, didn’t know anybody, and was on my own for the first time in my life. During the school year, there was a club and organization fair that I attended, and I could not have been more pleased with the outcome. I played hockey in high school, and wanted to continue to play. I was walking around the room looking for hockey sign-ups, when I ran into a girl who played rugby. She talked to me about it for quite some time, and I clung to every word she said. It sounded so interesting, so different, and like something I would enjoy so much. American Football is based on rugby, but American footballers wear padding while in rugby there is no such protection. We even got a little sidetracked and began discussing the rugby betting basic terms as apparently her dad was big into betting on English rugby games! After the conversation, I decided that I was going to join the team. My first practice was horrifying, but every single person on the team made me feel so welcomed. I was the girl that showed up out of nowhere, and they took me under their wing. It was at that moment that I felt like I belonged at my school. I felt accepted by a group of great people, who are now some of my closest friends.

It was amazing – she just talked to me about the sport, answered any questions I had, and overall, just seemed like such a nice and accepting person. She made me, a scared little freshman, feel like I could join the team and get involved. I am grateful that she came up to me and talked to me about it. If it wasn’t for the 5 minute conversation we had, my freshman, and now sophomore year could have been so different.

From that, I learned that you can’t push things on new students. Rugby was a brand-new thing to me. My friend didn’t force me to play, but encouraged me to. I think that if you encourage more students to get involved, it helps your school community grow. It also helps you as an individual to grow and learn about yourself and what you are capable of. If you never try something, you won’t ever know what you are capable of!

I advocate for our rugby team any chance I can get. I love seeing people step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves. I try to be like my teammate who encouraged me to play rugby. People always say things like “Rugby? Isn’t that really tough?” or “I’m not big enough to play rugby.” The truth is, anyone can. You just have to be open to the idea of trying something new. You can’t let yourself get in the way of trying something. This year, I was the one who stepped up and talked to people at the club and organization fair where I discovered rugby. At the end of the day, I talked to so many people and had a handful move out of their comfort zone and sign up to play. One point I always make sure to bring up is how close my team is and how accepting we are. I feel like as a freshman, its hard to find acceptance at first. My team always accepts people, we never turn people down. This makes it easy to connect with people and make new friends.

Everyone I talked to seemed excited. I think once they got past the idea of rugby being this really hard, terrible sport (which is not, but seems to be most people’s preconceived idea), they realized the opportunity it gave them.

This post was written by Katie Mellon, a student at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She’s a Clinical Laboratory Sciences major, and part of the orientation committee.

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