One of the hottest new student organizations to spend a Saturday with this school year is the LeTourneau Rugby Club. Alex Hardinge recently visited the team for a rugby tutorial and history lesson about the sport and its appearance on our campus. This article is second in a narrative series; start with part 1 and stay tuned for 3!
Details and History of the LeTourneau Rugby Club
The first rugby practices began three years ago and were started by Cory Huskin and David Mapapalangi. David, as I’m sure very few of us have forgotten, led the haka performance during last year’s Hootenanny.
The formal LeTourneau Rugby club was formed and recognized this past August and has since grown to roughly 25 members. In order to join the club, a person is required to attend seven practices within the course of one semester. The large scale goal of the club is to eventually become a member of the Texas Rugby Union and play other schools’ clubs competitively.
However, one does not need to be a member in order to enjoy the benefits of playing rugby. When I asked Vincent what people should do if they would like to join the team he simply replied, “Just come out and play!” The normal practices are held Saturdays at 3:00pm on the southern practice field, and new players will receive all the knowledge and knowhow of the game from seasoned veterans. The practices are currently averaging 16-25 players, but Vincent is hoping this number will grow as word circulates about the club. When asked about whether the Rugby club planned on performing another haka during this year’s hootenanny, Vincent acknowledged that they might attempt to perform a call and response haka. This would involve two groups of men directing different haka calls to each other, something which I’m sure many of us would enjoy watching.
But why should you play rugby? If the words of this writer have not yet inspired you, then perhaps the words of the players themselves will. Among their comments were the descriptions of rugby as “Fuel for life” and “What real men do on Saturdays”. On the more serious side, Chris Black mentioned that rugby provided a good outlet from the weekly frustrations of school, which is something I’m sure we all need given the rigorous standards of academia provided at LeTourneau.
Vincent summed up the best reason to me when he described the purpose of the club. “Our goal is to create a fellowship of rugby players… It’s about being in a brotherhood, but in Morgan’s case, a sisterhood.” When asked if they thought rugby would make a good intramural sport, the response was overwhelmingly positive, though this would most likely need to be touch rugby. And if you still feel that you are too (Insert excuse here) to play rugby, another player assured me that “we are accepting of all people!”
This invitation also extends to the women of LeTourneau. From what I gathered, three women have thus far attended the practices, though only Morgan Shinn attends regularly. Women are welcomed to come and play as well, but with special co-ed rules out of necessity. A definite positive for any woman wanting to join the team is the fact that they would have a great group of guys more than willing to tackle any stalker following them!
As with any sport, there is the possibility of injury; and though the main purpose of the rugby club is not just to tackle each other, rugby is an inherently physical and rough sport. However, the rugby club has had a fairly clean slate, all things considered. An ambulance has only needed to be called once for a knee injury. But the club always plays with safety in mind. Before each tackle game, the rules for safe tackling are explained and the conditions of the field taken into consideration. A mouth guard and long socks are suggested wear for players, but other than that, rugby is traditionally played without any padding.
Written by Alex Hardinge