Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Ignorance leads to low support for women’s rugby

Rugby is a sport that most people in the United States fail to understand. People don’t know how many players are on the field at one time, that one cannot throw the ball forward, and that blocking is not allowed. Due to this deficiency of knowledge, the women’s rugby team often finds itself with little fan support.

Sophomore Ethan Bergeson acknowledges that he does not go out to cheer for rugby games because he simply does not understand the rules of rugby.

“I just don’t really know what is going on,” Bergeson said. “It makes it a lot more difficult to cheer when I don’t know what to cheer for.”

While rugby may not have anywhere near the support of other sports on campus, sophomore co-captain Becky Nevin feels that rugby may not need the level of support that other teams do.

“Rugby doesn’t need to have the big fan support. We need players, a field and an opposing team — not like basketball which needs fans to be basketball,” Nevin said.

Even though Nevin believes that rugby does not necessarily need as much fan support as other sports, she acknowledges that it is very nice to have.

“I really like home games because the community can come out and support us,” Nevin said. “If people want to get to know the game better, they should come to a game. They’ll find that it is actually relatively easy to figure out.”

If you want to classify rugby, you could say that it is sort of a mix between football and soccer. The scoring is also similar to that of football. The primary way to score is to ground the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area by touching the ball to the ground, which counts for five points. Just like in football, there is next a conversion kick –– but in rugby it is worth two points in contrast to football’s one. Three points can also be scored by a successful penalty kick or drop goal.

The game is similar to soccer in that there is nonstop action. The games are divided into 40-minute halves and the team plays for all 40 minutes of that time, except during infrequent time-outs. Just like in soccer, the ball is constantly in motion around the field.

Overall, Nevin enjoys where women’s rugby sits in the eyes of the Whitman community, except for one general stereotype about the women.

“I would like people to understand us and get rid of the stereotype that we are just a bunch of butch women,” Nevin said.

So far this spring, the women’s rugby team has played three games, all of which have been on the road. The team next plays on April 2 in Spokane at the 20th Spokane Rugby Fools Fest. After that, there are a string of home games throughout April and May. (do you have a date for the first one? April’s not too far away…)

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