Rugby: aggression meets playfulness
Luther College rugby is back on the pitch and ready to ruck, scrum and maul their way to victory.
Courtesy of Elaine Seekon
The men and women both have different goals for the season.
“Our goal is to make it to Division III Nationals,” Men’s Co-Captain Adam Stein (‘13) said.
The women are aiming their sights a bit lower, by going back to the basics.
“Our goals are to build up our team and to work on getting better individually—not to win, but to improve as individuals,” Women’s Co-Captain Elaine Seekon (‘14) said.
Both teams were scheduled to play over the weekend. The men were supposed to take on Gustavus but had to cancel due to a lack of players. The women put up a good fight against Carleton but lost 10-0.
“This is a rebuilding season, and there are lots of new girls learning very quickly,” Seekon said. “There will be payoff in future seasons for our hard work now.”
The men are experiencing similar difficulties, in terms of having few experienced players on the field.
“We need more bodies in general,” Men’s Co-Captain Mark Gisleson (‘13) said.
Rugby is an unfamiliar sport to those outside of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Carrie Juergens / Chips
“The objectives in rugby are to keep control of the ball for as long as possible, to set up good team rucks and to take advantage of every opportunity that defense gives you,” Stein said.
Rugby is a very aggressive sport, but it comes with some lightheartedness, as well. All rugby players are given a nickname that captures a characteristic that came out during the first game.
Some nicknames include Sailor Moon, Ling Ling, E-train, Fink and Amazon.
People either shroud the origins of their nicknames in secret or profess their story boldly upon inquiry. The group is surrounded by much tradition.
“My favorite part of playing rugby is the social afterward. We get together with the other team and make friends, whereas in football there’s a lot more enmity,” Gisleson said.
The teams are more open than ever to new recruits, but the game takes grit.
“I never had any experience with rugby before going into this,” Matt Boelter (‘16) said. “The best moment of the first game for me was the first time I got hit.”
The women’s team captains hope to leave a legacy for future rugby women in their coaching style this year.
“We had a clinic with Menagerie [Twin Cities women’s rugby team] this weekend,” Women’s Co-Captain Abby Sandry (‘13) said. “We want to develop a system to teach new people as they enter so that we have a consistent game plan even as old players leave and new ones come in … I hope that when I leave we’ll have a firm foundation for the future of Luther women’s rugby.”
On Saturday, Oct. 6 both the men and women will face off with their respective alumni at Luther’s home pitch.
Those interested in playing should contact Abby Sandry, Elaine Seekon, Mark Gisleson or Adam Stein for more information.