32 years ago, Women's Rugby Football Club was founded at Florida State University. Ironically, the club was not started by females, but rather the FSU Men's Rugby Club. The boys' team decided to create the organization as an attempt to meet girls.
Since their initial efforts to pick up ladies, the women's team has won the national championship four times, and the club's alumni have played for the United States national team.
"Rugby culture is just unlike any other. We meet so many different types of people out there on the pitch and from so many places in the nation. We will often times even meet ruggers from abroad too," Women's Rugby Club Vice President and FSU senior Jocelyn Karpy said. "It really takes a fellow rugger to understand why we love to play as much as we do."
The "pitch" is a playing field and a "rugger" is the British term for a rugby player. There are about 30 ruggers on the team, and nine club officers. One of the officers is FSU senior Amanda Ogle, the organization's President.
Ogle, who is an English education major from Thomasville, N.C., started playing rugby when she came to FSU freshman year.
"I was walking out of the gym my freshman year and the girls playing then had a table set up," Ogle said. "They asked if I wanted to play and to come out to practice that night. That's pretty much how it started."
Ogle states the team's biggest rival is the University of Central Florida. To be able compete with the Knights, the girls practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. and participate in fitness practices Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m.
"Rugby games are 80 minutes in length so the players have to be able to give 100 percent during that time or they could cost the team points on the board," Women's Rugby Secretary and FSU junior Corrie Coates said. "Endurance is a huge factor but not the kind of stamina that is static. You are constantly sprinting full speed."
Rugby can get rough. Tackling is a part of the game. Injuries occur, and although bumps and bruises may be typical for most contact sports, Ogle has experienced more severe physical harm.
She has sprained her MCL on her left knee as well as a thumb from trying to catch a ball. The 21-year-old has also broken a couple bones in her right foot, as well as a toe from being stepped on. A few popped blood vessels in her right leg is another form of damage this player has endured.
"My least favorite part of playing rugby was trying to convince my parents that a hospital bill for a rugby induced injury is part of the 'college experience,'" Women's Rugby Match Secretary and FSU senior Liz Frostenson said.
Ogle loves nearly everything about Rugby, including an appreciation for her teammates.
"I really didn't know anyone when I began at Florida State because I was from North Carolina and I was lonely," Ogle said. "Once I started playing rugby the girls on the team made me feel like I belonged to a group and really helped me to establish myself at the school. That sense of family is really the best thing about being on the team. Well, that and getting to legally hit someone with all the force you have."
© Copyright 2008 FSView & Florida Flambeau
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