This is one of the fun articles where a town is starting a new rugby team and the newspaper gets to explain what this crazy new sport is to the townspeople. This time, Bartlesville, Oklahoma will be unveiling the new Bruins High School Boys’ Rugby Club.
Came up in my google search because it briefly mentions women’s rugby, but had some fun quotes and explanations I get a kick out of … Good Luck to the Bartlesville Bruins.
When you ask the guys in the brand-new Bartlesville Bruins rugby club why they decided to sign up and play, they don’t exactly beat around the bush.
“I wanted to hit somebody,” says Brad Gray, 16.
“They said it was rough and it was real fun to play,” says 15-year-old Austin Taylor on his first day at practice.
On the sidelines of the practice field, Madison eighth-grader Dylan Grayson sat watching the guys.
“It just looks like a fun sport,” he says. Though he’s not yet old enough to come out with the Bruins, he says he has played rugby before-on video games.
In a culture where the biggest, toughest, roughest guys put on hard helmets and thick protection to play football, the idea of a similar game which calls for little to no padding holds a certain amount of fascination for many would-be bonecrushers. But according to Coach Haus Miller, who has put together the Bartlesville high school rugby club, this British-born ancestor of American football really isn’t very much more dangerous.
“As far as being violent-you’re gonna get bruises,” says Miller, who spends his time off the field as a pastor at First United Methodist Church. “I think they assume that it’s harder because it is a contact sport and there’s no pads. But the fact is, football helmets and shoulder pads become weapons. You take those weapons away and you’d go back to the bruises and the bloody noses, and you’d have less broken legs and separated soldiers and knees. [Rugby is] rough, but it’s not deadly.”
But the player who comes out expecting to hit people isn’t likely to be disappointed.
“In football, one person might make two or three tackles in a game,” says Miller. “Everybody on the rugby team’s gonna make anywhere from ten to twelve tackles in a game, [and] touch and carry the ball ten or twelve times.”
Coach Miller hopes to get enough boys for his new team and maybe even a girls’ team in the future.
“I think it’d be pretty cool to see ‘em come out,” he says. “For one thing, it’ll give ‘em something to do in college.” Women’s rugby is now a growing club sport on American college campuses.
Bartlesville is located in northeastern Oklahoma near the state line with Kansas.