Women’s Rugby: School of Hard Knocks

Lennae Starr, Staff Reporter

15 positions. 80 minutes. No protection. Wanna ruck? Sound familiar? It’s what’s written on the back of the women’s club rugby team sweatshirts. The Mother Ruckers, as they are formally known, have been on campus for over two decades. After a dry spell in which there was little interest in the sport, it was brought back in the 2017-2018 academic year after some serious recruiting at the Fall Activities Fair.

The team travelled to Seattle University on Oct. 27 for a match against the University of Puget Sound. Due to low numbers, the Mother Ruckers joined forces with Seattle University’s team. The united Whitman-Seattle University team played their best, but Puget Sound left victorious.

Combining teams seems to be a common practice in club rugby, but that doesn’t seem to matter to sophomore Tamzen Shissler.

It will be fun, one way or the other. What I really enjoy is the camaraderie on the team. It is awesome to be able to play with a group of people who are excited and supportive,”Shissler said. “When we visit other teams, part of the way we come together after a game and resolve animosities is with a little social, where we hang out, sing songs together and generally appreciate each other’s company”.

Sophomore Julia Clapham echoed Shissler’s sentiments. “The last match was so fun! It was pouring rain and freezing but I don’t think anyone cared,” Clapham said. 

Rugby can be an intimidating sport to think about, with players being subjected not only to the hard bodies of the other team, but to the elements as well. That sure didn’t stop several first-years from committing to it.

“Even the girls who have never played before were not hesitant at all and were excited to immediately jump into the action,” Clapham said.

Besides offering a supportive environment full of humor that the team’s name implies, the sport is a great way to get fit.

“Rugby has the intensity and the physicality that I was looking for,” Shissler said, who began playing rugby during her first year. “I was looking for a sport to fill the place of soccer, which I had been doing since before kindergarten”.

The team will be traveling to Western Oregon University for their next match on Nov. 10th. Interested in joining? Catch them on Harper Joy Field at 4:00 p.m., Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.