These ‘Sisters’ bruised, bonded by rugby
“Ruck me, chuck me, make me bleed. Hardcore rugby’s all I need!”
This chant starts every practice and game for the Sisters of Mercy, Gonzaga’s women’s rugby team.
Junior Laura Brown, captain and three year veteran of The Sisters of Mercy Rugby Club, chose to play rugby for a variety of reasons.
“The sense of community that rugby portrays on and off the field is amazing,” Brown said. “I have met so many people and made many friendships that will last a lifetime. Oh, and tackling people is pretty fun too!”
“The bumps and bruises are worn by our team with pride,” senior co-captain Alicia Brown said.
The Sisters of Mercy have been back in action for three years. The team went dormant in the early ’90s due to lack of interest.
“The interest in women’s rugby has grown, and each year more and more women ruggers are coming out to play,” Coach Jason Stenzel said. “It is a fun, competitive and rewarding sport on many levels.”
One of the greatest benefits of playing rugby is the friendships that are made, according to freshman Meredith Coleman.
“The girls are all awesome -they’re honest and very easy to get along with,” Coleman said. “It is a demanding sport, and the reason that I’ve stuck with it is simply the people. The girls are all amazing and crazy-fun.”
Besides physically trying to slay their opponents during a match, these furious females represent Gonzaga to the best of their ability.
“Our team motto is ‘classy not trashy,'” said Alicia Brown. “We try really hard to keep it clean out on the pitch and make sure we positively represent Gonzaga during away games.”
After each rugged game, both teams get together and meet for a barbecue to get to know one another.
“It is a very European sport which emphasizes the sense of community,” Laura Brown said. “We are enemies on the field but friends off the field and typically everyone gets along great.”
The Sisters of Mercy have a demanding schedule. The team practices every Tuesday and Thursday and plays games every other Saturday.
“The games are great because it is when you get to put all the little pieces of practice together,” Coleman said. “We work as a team and have an awesome winning record that couldn’t be achieved without the dedication and desire that our team has.”
The Sisters of Mercy are undefeated in league and Laura Brown doesn’t see the momentum slowing down.
“I am extremely confident in our team this year and always have been for that matter,” she said. “This year we have really stepped up our game and improved all around. We have great coaches and a positive team that likes to play good, clean rugby.”
The women ruggers defeated Central Washington last weekend 31-15.
The Sisters of Mercy’s next game is Saturday on the road against the University of Montana. They return home to Mulligan Field on Nov. 11 to take on Whitman College.
Rugby is “crazy-fun”. 🙂 That should be my new blog motto. Saturday’s A Rugby Day … Adding the Crazy-Fun to Your Workday!