I’m excited to share this with everyone … a lot of times I find that even though I’m pretty good at digging up lots of stories to share and chatting about my own experiences playing, my viewpoints aren’t always the same as a player in another part of the country.
So, today, I’m stoked to post the first ever post by a guest blogger on Saturday’s A Rugby Day. Katy blogs regularly over at Steel City Experiment, plays for the Pittsburgh Women’s team, is a Penn State alum and is currently in grad school. Katy also traveled to Edmonton and wrote game recaps of this year’s Women’s World Cup games for the IRB web site. I’ve asked Katy to share her thoughts on rugby among the Division II Women and the eastern part of the country.
Katy’s Rugby Ruminations
Even though I should be focused on my coursework and lesson plans for my students, my mind is increasingly lost to rugby these days. It’s playoff season. Five days away from the Women’s DII Midwest Championship and I am pumped. My team, Pittsburgh, must play its deep rival in the first round.
We face Detroit for the second time his season to see which of us will go to nationals. Perennial competitor, 2-time consecutive national champions Detroit, or Pittsburgh, who have been slaving since last season, sprinting our asses off on the Astroturf in our quest to be the best.
This year, last year’s champs Raleigh Venom are hosting DII women’s nationals. DII rugby has been on my mind a lot in the past years, and not just because I play for a DII club.
Since I discovered the existence of the DII league, I have been disappointed and frustrated that they are not sanctioned or recognized by USA Rugby. I love the efforts from folks like Lori Staples and Rene Ovrut and Annie Antar and countless others of whom I am unfamiliar. These women work together to make this league work. On their own, they organize every detail to produce well run, amazing championships with quality personnel and tough rugby.
I’m not sure what it will take to make DII women’s rugby “legitimate” in the eyes of our governing body, but tournaments like last year’s nationals in Naples are a heck of a start.
Thanks to the Lady Hammerheads, the tournament had amazing media coverage (local news, radio broadcasts, ads, newspaper press) and an informative website detailing every instant of the weekend. The visiting teams even received welcome packets with coupons and discounts! The event was an all-around amazing, professional sporting event. I hope the Venom live up to the challenge this year, because the competing teams are looking even better than last year.
Four unions are sending two teams each to the competition, after organizing their own league and territorial playoff structures. DII women’s rugby is out there, every weekend, practicing every week and proving our worth across the country. Our league sees a lot of new teams, social sides, and teams that have their peaks and valleys, but there is a corps of solid competitors out there and we are the stepping stones to select sides, the welcome wagon for recent college grads and rugby newbies.
We are playing good rugby every Saturday and I am pumped to go along for the ride to this year’s championship series. Tune into the Venom site for updates, because it is going to be an awesome show.