I mentioned this in my earlier post recapping the weekend here, but we have two new players that are age 43 and 44.
And when I say new, I mean new to rugby. Never played, never practiced, never really seen a game. They both asked me if I thought it was crazy that they try rugby and I said, give it a try, do your best and if you show up for practices and want to play, we’ll play you.
They come to practices, work hard and played in our game Saturday. One started at tighthead prop and was my lifter in our lineouts. One started at wing.
It is worth noting that we are rebuilding our roster. With a larger roster, both of these players – and any newer players – would be developmental roster and not starting in an A-side. But we all know how it goes with small rosters …
I rode down and back to Chicago with our new wing. She’s 43 and joined the team to try something new. She’s athletic, but working on her fitness. She looks like she’s 43.
She told me before our game Saturday that a friend of hers told her that if she played rugby, it would be selfish and stupid at her age. Basically, because if she got hurt, others would need to help take care of her. She disagreed and said that she didn’t understand why anyone else cared what she did with her time and her body.
Later, after our social, she also mentioned that an older alum of the other team made similar comments about her age being too old to start playing rugby. Our new player said she thought it was because this other woman had already stopped playing and needed to justify to herself why she had stopped. Was our new player right or was the other woman right? Is there a right answer? I think it’s different for each person.
I started mulling this all over in my head though. Is there an age where you are too old to play rugby? Especially to start playing rugby?
Do we really even have this discussion for men?
Sunday was the Ironman triathlon here in Madison. I got up early to watch the swim start near my house. The PA was congratulating all the first-time Ironman participants and mentioned how all of them have stories why they are doing the race. He mentioned a 46-year-old woman, in her first race, who had beaten ovarian cancer. I wonder if anyone told her she was too old to be an Ironman competitor?
Our team is comprised of mostly 20-somethings, with a few 30-somethings. I firmly believe that I don’t have the right to tell another woman that they shouldn’t play rugby, if they are there working their butt off to play and be a part of our team.
Would I tell a woman who’s overweight and can’t keep up with the drills that she can’t play, if she’s out there working? Do I tell a woman who’s much smaller than the rest of us that she can’t play?
Just curious what everyone thinks …