Saturday, February 27, 2010

How do you you inspire people to do their best?

How do you make them better than they can be?

Good question, Nelson Mandela, GOOD QUESTION!!!

So the practice I went to today was phe-no-men-al, and I am super pissed that about 90% of my team didn't come. What are the majority of college students doing from 10:30am - 3:30pm? Sleeping. And I know for a fact that at least some of the girls on my team were doing exactly that. I mean, obviously it's understandable that people may have other super important things to attend to and that they may need to choose those over rugby (especially because we're only a club team and we're technically not allowed to force anyone to do anything), but most of the people on the team literally just fell off the face of the Earth and I have no idea where they were. Not a single person came and talked to me saying whether or not they were coming, and that is what I'm most upset about. Obviously I have to be respectful and understanding if someone can't make something for rugby because of a different commitment, but there's absolutely no excuse for not notifying me ahead of time and explaining why something has to be missed. 
This is so incredibly frustrating!! How can you make someone want something or put more effort into something that they just don't have any desire for (or at least it seems like they don't have any desire)? I know now that I would rather play with people who are absolutely horrible at rugby but have incredible heart and ambition for the sport on my team over any all star that is lazy and uncommitted. I'm not even mad about the fact that our team is not very skilled and not as dominating as we used to be; I am more mortified and upset about the fact that it seems like no one wants to put any effort in anymore! Not a single person! You cannot coach heart, or at least you cannot teach someone how to have it. You have to have that on your own
The practice today was incredible though, and I am glad that at least I got so much out of it and I am very happy and satisfied with how I spent my saturday. People came from all sorts of teams, some that were even hours away and they drove through treacherous weather conditions to come to it (our school, on the other hand, is 15 minutes away). It started off with some classroom talk time, and although when I first heard we were doing that it obviously sounded super boring (I mean, class to almost anyone on a Saturday does not sound appetizing). But a class about rugby is actually one of the most awesome places to be! I forgot about one time when my friend and I were talking about how rugby should be a class you can take, and then escalated into how rugby should be a major of its own (how-sick-would-that-be?! Class schedule: Rucking 101, Drop kicking 304, Loose Play Philosophy 206....). I know now that a rugby major would be just as awesome as it sounds, because I sat in a classroom taking notes (on a paper towel from the bathroom...pffft) on rugby for over an hour and enjoyed every second of it! 
After the classroom, we went to a basketball court where normally it would seem like not even close to enough room to accomplish any sort of rugby practice (which my team seems to believe) and where we actually practiced with some awesome and productive drills for at least two hours! I am so incredibly glad that I got to experience that, because now I am enlightened with a plethora of indoor rugby drills that my team can do, and never again will they have an excuse for cutting an indoor rugby practice short. And something that I really appreciated was that most of the drills also incorporated some fitness into them, or at least some movement. For some reason there are people who think that rugby drills for specific skills don't have time for fitness or cannot have fitness in them, but that doesn't even make sense because almost everything you're doing in rugby is while you're running or after you've just ran a ton. A passing drill that has no running? What? When do you ever pass a rugby ball in a game when you're not running?! Anyways, so we did drills on an incredible amount of things: line outs, poaching, decking, bangers, loose play in general, backs plays, passing lines, scrums, rucking, etc. Then we stopped for a quick lunch and diverged into the realm of defense and tackling in a wrestling room that had a padded floor. We went through every little detail about tackling until everyone was capable of doing a one on one tackling drill. Then from there it evolved into two on three, three on four, and six on eight, all of which were really fantastic and practiced so many different skills. 
But something that's really been bugging me is that a ton of the drills we did at the camp were either similar or no different at all from drills we normally do at our own practices on the team. So why then are none of these drills successful and why aren't they as effective and productive as the ones at the camp? One theory that I am coming up with is that all the girls who went to the camp were extremely dedicated and putting in 100% effort into every single drill. There was not a single tackle that was half-assed and every single run was a full on sprint to the ball, and I think that these little things make all the difference in the world. 

I've just got to figure out how to turn this team around, because obviously it is going in a steep downhill direction right now. I know that I'm supposed to lead by example, but what if I'm providing the example and nobody cares? What if it is still ineffective? I know I will never give up in being an example though, and even with all the split second influences where I feel like quitting this team and leaving them to fend for themselves I will still push everyone and myself as much as I possibly can. I just wish I could figure out how to do this more effectively, because obviously right now it's not enough...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rugby in Film

Well obviously I can't have a rugby blog without mentioning some awesome rugby in movies (it can't be all about me!).


I've already seen Invictus five times, and I plan on watching it again the night before the practice I'm going to on Saturday. Although there has been a little criticism about the movie, and I've heard some rugby players say that there wasn't enough rugby in the movie for them, I think that this movie captures the exact essence and philosophy that rugby contains. Rugby isn't just a sport, it goes beyond the field. I don't think that it is a surprise that rugby was the sport to unite a nation. Rugby is such a team oriented sport containing many different and important parts all working together as one that it's no wonder the sport was an inspiration for different people of a country to come together. I think that every rugby team and every rugby player contains a small piece of the of love, harmony, humility, and unity shown through Nelson Mandela's and South Africa's story. Someone who truly understands rugby would know that the rugby and the story of peace in this movie were not two separate things, they were both intertwined. Although the movie did not show the sport of rugby 24/7, it definitely depicted the philosophy of it. It seemed like every word that came out of Nelson Mandela's mouth was quotable, but there are some that have stuck with me especially in relation to rugby (and I'm sure every time I watch it there will be a new quote that sticks with me). One of my absolute favorite parts of the movie is when Nelson Mandela asks Francois Pienaar what his philosophy is on leading his team, and Francois replies that he has always tried to "lead by example," which is one of the most phenomenal things I have ever heard. It's SO incredibly true, because of course successful leaders need to essentially put their money where their mouth is and practice what they preach. No one is going to listen to a leader who doesn't even follow and believe what he or she is fighting for. 
ALSO, the new coach that the South African Rugby team brought in halfway through the movie basically spoke my mind about how I feel every rugby team should think. The coach says that they may not be the most skilled team, but they will CERTAINLY be the fittest. I think that is the mentality every single rugby team and every single rugby player should have. Fitness should be an absolute given on a rugby team, because it's something that everyone can work on all-the-time. 

p.s. It made kicking look super easy, and I was super jealous.
p.s.s. The soundtrack is phenomenal.

Forever Strong

Heyoooo even I'll admit that the story line of this movie and the acting in it is slightly cheesy, but it does have some pretty awesome rugby clips in it. I liked the way that the Highland team ran practices, and I think this movie really defined what "real" rugby players are and what "fake" rugby players are. The real rugby players are the ones that put incredible work and effort into the sport not to be the star, but to better the rest of the team and benefit themselves. I think that the Highland team's players showed how "real" players play for the love of the sport, work as a team, and humbly do their best to internally benefit themselves. Also, I think that a ton of their team's success was due to things they did off the field. The team did so many bonding things together; they did service together on a regular basis, they worked out together, and it even looked like they normally hung out together to strengthen their friendships and bonds. Every single person on the team was so open and happy and friendly, even when the main character was still in his jerk-off mode. And the reason WHY they were all so happy and friendly to one another on and off the field was because it seemed like there were absolutely NO egos on the team. Everyone was the same amount of support for one another, so they had a stronghold that couldn't be broken. 
The "fake" rugby team, on the other hand, was an absolute mess. Yes, they were blessed with some gifted players, but it didn't even matter. The majority of the time, the team only won with cheap shots and low blows. There are tons of teams that get away with this kind of play sometimes, but it won't last for long and they CERTAINLY won't win a game with it. And obviously the way the team partied all the time and made stupid decisions didn't help their cause either. They seemed like they only based their friendships off people who did things just as stupid as them or stupider, and those aren't real friends at all. This team was just all about cheating and taking shortcuts to win games, which obviously shows their true weakness as a team and that they're actually scared and not confident in their own abilities. Also, it was blatantly obvious that the people on the team had the horrible syndrome of greedily wanting the ball for themselves for the desire to score a tri and look like an all star. Obviously, a team with people like this (and especially a team FULL of these people) is never going to get anywhere. It was apparent in the main character how the "fake" team worked because he always tried to run the ball for himself without ANY sort of consideration for his teammates and what's really best for the team (in the beginning). But he obviously learns that this is unacceptable in rugby and not only inconsiderate to your team but just flat out ineffective, and it will be every single time. And I love it how he learned this through playing a forward position, especially hooker :o)  

Monday, February 22, 2010


So I just asked my friend who is an athletic training major about my ankle....and she told me I shouldn't run until at least WEDNESDAY!! Yikes! This is such a bummer! And when I am able to get back on the treadmill on Wednesday, I probably won't even be able to go the 200% I wanted to either. Hopefully, the amount of effort I have put in during the past couple of weeks and at Winterfest will be a good enough backbone for me to be able to still run my hardest and my fastest. I wanted whatever level my hardest and fastest is to be higher by the time the awesome rugby practices comes on Saturday, but I guess I can hopefully still do my best and do well with what I've accomplished already. I just hate having to limit myself, or thinking that I'm limited. I've always been about reaching for the stars and thinking that anything is possible if you work hard and never ever give up. I just hate it that the injury I've had forever (bad ankles/super weak achilles) flares up usually when I think I'm really making strides and pushing myself. It's super annoying! And in the past, I've always tried to ignore the injury and push through it, which has obviously always resulted in tearing or just no progression in healing. Ugh it's so incredibly frustrating. I can't think of it as a limit though, and I won't think of it as a limit. I'll never stop putting in the absolute amount of effort I possibly can into rugby.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The aftermath

WOW I am SOO sore today, but that's a good thing! I'm glad that I got to use muscles I may not have used in a while in Winterfest yesterday. The huge bruise I have on my knee is beautiful hahaha! This morning I could not get out of bed until around 1pm, and then all I did was eat breakfast and then sit in bed again. The second time I woke up I felt even worse and more sore than the first! And that was when I realized how important it was for me to pull myself out of bed today and get working out, even though I was hurting. The longer I sit around and wait to get back on the treadmill, the harder it's going to be. So I kicked myself out of bed, did a lot of yoga in my room, and headed to the gym. I'm really really happy that I did, because I don't feel like I've fallen behind at all. Also, the all star practice is next Saturday, and I know for a fact that I am not even close to being in shape and less than a week is not a lot of time to change that. BUT, if I really work hard this week, it should definitely make a huge difference. I hope that by tomorrow I am not sore anymore so I can push myself farther. The only thing that scared me a little today was while I was running I thought I could feel my achilles pulling again in my right ankle, which is a VERY bad sign for me. It's going to be tough to figure out whether or not to push myself at the gym this week or fall back a little to prevent injury. I don't know, I'm nervous! 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winterfest 2010

What a WONDERFUL day of rugby! 
Winterfest is a traditional sevens tournament that's outside in the snow, so basically it's rugby in snow pants and mittens. It's not really that formal, I's as formal as you can be when running around in freezing snow and slipping all over in winter boots. But it's always soo much fun. Even though when standing around I LITERALLY felt like my feet were going to fall off and my brain felt so numb I couldn't even think, once I stepped on that rugby field the immediate warmth and extreme rush of the game always filled my body.
I think that's a reason why I never wanted to sub out during the games ha ha, I played 4 entire games! It's usually pretty common for everyone to get to a point where they just feel too cold to play anymore, and a few times I may have thought that for a moment myself, but I've always had the mentality to play rugby at ANY chance I can get and until I literally cannot play anymore. I think today I would've played until one of my body parts snapped off from being frozen. I'm sad that now I have to wait until SPRING before I get to really play again. I also ended the day with a ginormous bruise on my knee, bruises on my arms and even my finger (hurts to type...awesome), and I got kicked in the face (if I wasn't wearing a mouth guard I'd be missing a third of my teeth) and it made my face bleed and it was awesome but now I kind of look like a vampire. I'd say today was a successful rugby day.
It was like Winterfest dangled a little glimpse of rugby in front of my face and then pulled away! But, at least this little taste of rugby will hopefully give me more motivation and incentive to work harder during these winter months so I can come out completely ready for the spring. Today I felt a little slower than normal, and although my tackles were somewhat okay I don't think they really had that BAM sort of part to them that I always like to include. I mean, these things could be attributed to the cold and because we were playing in tons of snow, but I have never ever liked to blame bad playing with the lame excuse of weather. 
Next Saturday there is a clinic nearby that I REALLY want to go to. I am SO glad that it's next weekend because I'm still on the high from playing today. Although they apparently pick all stars from it, I don't expect to be picked at all bahahaha. There are SO many awesome players from all over around here who are probably better than me, but that's what makes me want to go even more. I'll get to play with people who are the best of the best! It's going to be such an awesome experience. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

The beginning!

Soo I decided to make a blog about rugby (nerd.) because I really think that everything that goes into rugby and that has to do with rugby is so fascinating. Like I said almost two years ago when I was a Freshman in college, playing rugby is one of the greatest decisions I have ever made in my entire life. The philosophies in rugby and the people you meet in rugby are all so genuine, and it's like nothing I've ever experienced before. Up until college I have done hockey, softball, basketball, track, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey......and they're all different kinds of teams but just not even close to the phenomenon of rugby. So to start it off, I copied and pasted everything from my old journal that has to do with rugby (I know....NERD!) and put it on here. I think it's cool to have it all put together chronologically because it really does start at the very beginning of my rugby career. Although the last post below ends what I've written at October 5th 2009, really rugby season and thinking about rugby never ever stops for me and hopefully it never stops for anyone.

October 5th, 2009: No one knows how hard coaching really is until they experience it for themselves. I KNOW that my rugby coach subs people in accordingly. Last year, I went through the pains of being disappointed when not playing. I probably went through the worst of it out of anyone. I worked my ass off, more than anyone on the team if not everyone on the team combined, for games that I wouldn't even get to dress for. And one of those games was the one game that my family drove 10 hours to see, meaning they drove ten hours to see me not start, not sub in, and not play period. It can't really get any worse than that, and I'll never forget how hard I worked and how much effort I put in. I was shut down many many times, thrown aside and not played for long periods of time. I didn't just get my starting spot out of thin air or because I'm a favorite or anything like that, I worked hard to get to where I am. And I fully believe that if you REALLY, TRULY want something then if you work hard enough for it you'll get it. You just can't take no for an answer. If you don't start in a game, then you think, "Okay fine, I'll work SO hard this next week that I'll definitely start," and you continue saying that until the rewards finally come. Who knows when that time is, but I believe if you really keep at it then you will be rewarded sooner or later. People just have to SHUT IT and quit complaining. I know what it's like to not play and I never complained once. Eat some humble pie.

We lost our third game to Cortland 27-0....GOD DAMNIT. It's so FRUSTRATING, and not completely because of the team either. I feel like I'm working SO hard and going NOWHERE. I think that's partially because rugby is such a team sport that no one ever really stands out, no matter how good they are. If your team sucks then you suck too, and the team always experiences the joys and pains of each game as a whole. The thing I was most upset about in this game though was that I literally felt slower, and I felt like I wasn't working hard enough because I was getting exhausted quicker and I knew that I wasn't going my fastest...and it wasn't because of a lack of effort, it was because of a lack of endurance, which I normally ALWAYS make sure I have. And I mean, I guess it wasn't even that noticeable that I was personally not as in shape as normal because I work so hard at it in the first place, but I personally just felt like I was just a step off from normal. I just got sick last week and it was really rainy all the time, so I couldn't work out as much as I normally do. But that setback completely threw me off in the game. Luckily I'm already running a lot more and I'm basically back to good health, so I'll be able to spring back for the next game.
I'm just PRAYING that tomorrow at the meeting the team makes the right decision about the rugby coach...though it seems doubtful to me right now.

September 23rd, 2009: We lost our first rugby game of the season 15-10 against LeMoyne. We should've won, but I at least scored my first tri ever! And I almost scored a second one! Hopefully we'll improve SOON.

September 8th, 2009: I think I'm starting to realize that my desires for rugby have been a tad selfish. I mean, at the same time it's not really a bad thing to want to do your best and play in every game (I mean, if you REALLY like the sport that is what you should want, right?), but I think I need to step back and stop obsessing about my playing time. I know that part of the reason why I wanted to learn more positions was to increase my chances of playing and to become more of a utility player, but I should think more so about how if I don't play then it's not a big deal and not the end of the world. I KNOW that I am working hard and doing my best, and I know that I am personally making major improvements. What more could I ask for? If no one else recognizes that, then fuck them. It doesn't mean that I did anything less. No one needs to know that sometimes I run the park three times a day before we even begin practicing. It's nice to do it not for the glory but just for my own personal satisfaction. I'm happy with my progress. I won't let anyone else let me think otherwise.

September 2nd, 2009: Rugby practices have started, and already I feel like I am ready to annihilate (although I know that I am not even close to being fully ready and in shape yet). But NO ONE is going to bring me down this year, I am going to dominate. And I don't mean that in the cocky sense, like I'm better than everyone else and that I'm above everyone else, but I just know that my heart's in this more than anyone else and I am going to work so incredibly hard and push my every limit.

Just wait until the first scrimmage.....they won't even know what hit 'em.

August 26th, 2009: Rugby is stressing me out beyond insanity. I feel like I shouldn't have anything to worry about because I worked out soooo much over the summer and I have worked soooooo hard towards this time, but now I suddenly don't feel prepared. I feel like I lost EVERYTHING and that I'm completely out of shape all over again. I guess I can only try my hardest, which I am most certainly doing, and I just hope that's enough. Another thing that is stressing me out and pissing me off at the same time are how people are mad at me about playing scrumhalf. First off, they TOLD me to play the position from the get go, and they fucking screwed me over in the end about it. SECOND, if they want to play it sooooo bad then why can't they try and play it themselves if they think they can do better!? And THIRD, I didn't ask for ANY of this, so don't bitch at me. Ugh, I never thought I would have to deal with this on this team. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and take the hits to try and prevent any arguments (and deep down in my head I'll picture how much I could totally annihilate them with a rugby tackle, ha). Every day seems to be going by slower and slower because I'm WAITING for the moment when rugby practices start next week. I hope I'm able to prove myself enough this year to actually earn some respect from other people on the team. Just because I'm nice and happy for the most part, doesn't mean I'm stupid and that I can't fuck someone up.

June 27th, 2009: I am having extreme rugby withdrawl. I seriously feel like I cannot go this long or any longer without playing rugby, and that when I go back to the sport I am going to suck big time. I just hope all this working out I'm doing is actually worth it and pays off. I know it's not the same as actually playing in games and practicing rugby, but honestly I think it's the next best thing I can do and all I can do at this point. I might start doing these mini triathlons once a week; I think if I could get into that then I would be in pretty good shape to play rugby again. But, this fucking job I have has the shittiest and weirdest hours, so who knows. I just hope hope hope everything goes okay and that next rugby season I am ready to play my very best.

June 22nd, 2009: So the rugby team I was on was a BUST. sort of. I mean, I practiced with them and went to some games...and then their spring season ended. They were supposed to have a summer season too that wasn't as hardcore, but they legit fell off the face of the earth. It's so frustrating because I want to get better at this sport quickly, and the best way to do that is to actually PLAY it (duh). But for now, I guess I'm literally doing everything I can to get ready for the fall season; I've been working out like a maniac. I kind of wish that the summer would end right now just so that I could go into the season in shape. I hope that I can keep this up, and do even more, before the fall and not fall behind (no pun intended, but HA). I'm nervous; I think I'm putting a lot more pressure on myself and the team than I need to. But I want to play Division I SO BAD. I KNOW we can, and rapidly the team is losing a lot of really great players. If we were gonna do it ever, NOW would be the time. Already the team has lost sooooo many great and extremely valuable players that can never be replaced. I HATE it how people can be so lazy and not take this seriously. I know it's a club team, but we have the chance to be GREAT. We can still have fun, but I think we should want to succeed as much as we can too. Why not reach for the stars? Why not believe we can achieve greatness and try our very best?

May 3rd, 2009: I hope that I can play rugby over the summer. I don't think I'll be able to take a season off without it! It would be sooo awesome if I could stay here next year and play for the women's team (and that would be scary at the same time!). We'll see how everything plans out. I'm so happy with how everything went here. I couldn't be happier.

February 24th, 2009: For rugby, I need to learn to run low with the ball. I think that's why I'm feeling so hurt now, is because every time I got hit I wasn't running low enough. Tomorrow I'm going to the health center to get my leg and shoulder checked out. I just need to get used to running the ball and getting tackled more; that just comes with experience and time I guess. I think I've just been more used to tackling instead of getting tackled from being a forward. But also, I seriously need to "grow a pair" in Angela (from The Office) terms. If I'm going to become scrum half on this team, I need to step it up a notch and take some control. I love the new people on our team already!!

February 21st, 2009: My finger is literally purple and I can barely write, my knees are bowling balls, I feel like walking with a limp from the gargantuan bruise on my quad, my shoulder feels like it's gonna fall off, I have a bruise on my ass (pfft)... AND ITS AWWWESOMEEEEEEE!!!!! Today was winterfest, and it was great! The weather was way nicer than expected (even though it was still wet and freezing, it was also sunny), and I played like 6 games of rugby in a row...that's probably why I'm so banged up now. As much as it hurts, honestly I feel like the first thing I want to do after I feel better is get beat up in rugby all over again! I'm really hooked into it. The team is fabulous. Can't wait for rugby season :o)

But blaaaaaah on a serious note I really am in SO much pain.

The beginning (continued...)

November 23rd, 2008: I'm just remembering last year when I played powderpuff, and that insaneo play that I made in the end that people say "won the game." I'll never ever forget that moment; it was like the nirvana of sports. I was going at insane top speed, and everything just fell right into place for that play to happen. I can remember every little detail - I was the left side linebacker, the one that was supposed to blitz, and right when the hike was called I shot off. It was fourth down, and if Courtney (the quarterback for the other team, I knew her) had done a lateral to the girl on my side like she was supposed to, it would have been all over because I was so ahead and would have intercepted it in a second. But INSTEAD, she handed it off to the other side, and the girl started running a wide right. I immediately thought, "SHIT, there's a HUGE gap on the right side line........." and although I was totally out of the play because I was on the opposite side of the field, I started running in a panic of what I thought was going to happen. And what I thought was going to happen, did happen....she blew RIGHT THROUGH the right side, and she had a free side line to herself to run in for a touchdown. It was the fourth quarter, and there was less than a minute left. If she scored, they would win and it would be game over. I can remember instead of deciding to chase the girl from behind and around everyone else, I cut WAY up in a diagonal line and sprinted - looking for the point where I would eventually meet up with her. I sprinted and sprinted and sprinted, until I caught up with her at the ten yard line. We were both running full speed, and I couldn't let it go on for much longer or she would score. I made a last and final DIVE around the five yard line, and I flew into the out of bounds....................... She ran around the endzone thinking she scored, and the stands and everyone on the other team were roaring and cheering, but I rolled over and sat up.....WITH HER FLAG IN MY HAND. When I dove, I LITERALLY caught the end tail of her flag in that split second, and she didn't score. The refs also said she had been pushed out of bounds when I caught up to her, so one way or another THEY LOST THE GAME. The offense went on for the last thirty seconds and we downed the ball to win OUR TENTH YEAR IN A ROW DECADE SWEEP POWDERPUFF GAME. In school and even around the town, everyone kept saying that I "saved that game" and I literally felt like a celebrity. And honestly, I didn't feel bad about it either; throughout playing sports in my life I've never really been a total hero. In softball, there have been some moments in games where I've been pretty clutch, but overall I've never really gotten much recognition for any of it. That was the first time I was ever really recognized for anything athletic by my peers and by the people in my town, and I'm so happy for it.

I'm really grateful for that moment because it gave me confidence and always reminds me to push myself throughout every play. Whenever I'm running, I run harder when imagining that girl right in front of me about to score a touchdown. I almost did it again in rugby, and I was wondering why this time I couldn't, but I also have to remember that there is a HUGE difference between just pulling someone's flag or pushing them out of bounds than having to full body tackle her. I did catch up to that girl, but I just couldn't wrap my arms around her to bring her down while also running at full speed. Yikes. Oh well, that gives me incentive to push harder and become faster.


October 22nd, 2008: Every day after rugby practice ends now, the sadness seems to be getting even worse. On Monday, I was pretty upset and jokingly talked about it with some of the girls, but today was pretty bad. Sometimes, I make myself so MAD. In the beginning of practice I was giggling and having so much fun and I was only like this not to get attention or anything but I really am that happy to see everyone and be with everyone on the team. Well by the end, I was seriously telling myself, "Shut-the-fuck-up." I need to realize (and I hate it how I've realized this now) that I can't afford to be giggly and happy at practice; I'm so new at this sport and I still have such an incredibly long way to go that I can't goof off. I have to give my full attention and do my best in every single drill we do. I guess I'm not really used to "being new" at a sport because the sports that I played in high school I've played my entire life. I want to get better and better, and because I'm so used to playing sports that I've played since I could walk I feel like I'm so far behind and have so much to catch up on. There's not much time left, and I feel like there's not enough time left to catch up. But then again, I guess I shouldn't expect myself to catch up no matter how much I want to. I really do have to just keep working hard and wait for my time to come, but I'm so impatient! I want to be good NOW and I want to play at a higher level NOW. I'm not good at settling for second best; I mean, I don't mean second best overall but second best in my potential. I almost always think that I can do better and improve on something, and obviously since I'm so new at rugby I feel like I can improve much more. I just never feel like I'm doing enough. When coach said, "So what were good things about practice today?" (signaling that it's over), my heart literally dropped. I couldn't believe it was over, and although the drills we did today were really good and I got some running in, I felt like I hadn't worked hard enough from all the giggling and laughing I did. It's making me upset all over again just thinking about it. I was so incredibly upset with myself, I felt like I had literally wasted the practice and it wasn't anyone's fault but mine. I swear, if we do some goofy team builders or something for Friday's practice or we just don't work hard, I will go out of my mind. So anyways, I couldn't even think straight I was so mad, so I just took out my iPod and ran. I just ran. I ran as fast as I could (and I actually think I ran the park in about 12 minutes) and I don't know if it was the wind or if I really was crying. I stopped back at the empty rugby field where my bag was sitting, and as I was about to pick up my stuff and go, I threw it down and sprinted to the tennis courts. I'm even upset at myself right now for not doing more while I was there, but it was getting really dark and I had to walk back by myself. Usually when I get mad at myself for rugby, I always think, "Well, I'll try harder next time. Now I know," but now I can't say that. I feel like it's unforgivable now. All I have to say is, I better fucking give my entire divided attention and effort into Friday. Or I'll go up in flames like ebay.

October 20th, 2008: I'm going to get really sad now after every rugby practice ends. I cannot even bare the thought of the season being over - when I say that I LIVE for rugby practices I mean it 100%. Every time I feel tired or stressed or upset, I either think, "Oh well, I have rugby today!" or "Oh well, I have rugby tomorrow!" and that solves everything. I have not missed a rugby practice this entire season because every single one has been so important to me. Maybe that's why I was even more upset at the end of practice. Did it end early? Because it went by really fast and I felt not only that I hadn't worked hard enough, but also I even felt a little like I hadn't learned much today either. I did learn some things which is always good, but I always look to every practice for learning as much as I possibly can in that period of time about the sport because it's still fairly new to me. I can work on the fitness on my own time, which I try to do as much as I possibly can, but I really can't work on skills or learn new things about the sport on my own as well as I can with other experienced players and a coach. I'm looking into playing on a local team at home during the summer, because I can't even think about going a whole summer without it (but I'll have to squeeze that in with working in a hotel and playing on various softball teams??). And it's not even just the sport that makes me feel so happy, it's the people too. And there are so many people that are going to be leaving that I'll miss SO MUCH, and I'm going to miss seeing all my rugby friends 3 or 4 times a week! I don't even know if we'll hang out anymore after the rugby season! THIS IS SUCH A DEPRESSING THOUGHT! *sob sob sob sob*

October 12th, 2008: We-are-undefeated. Today we had our last regular season game and we won 48-5 (HOLY SHIT). Although the game wasn't really that big of a deal since we've already won in the regular season with the best record and this team was 0-3, I GOT TO START! I am so grateful that I got to start and play a whole half, it was seriously one of the greatest feelings I've ever had. I was a little nervous, but for some reason it didn't bother me at all. I felt like I had a really good team playing with me so I was more excited and PUMPED! I didn't really do anything spectacular, but I'm just glad that I didn't do anything horrific and that I was able to play at that level. It was AWESOME!! And I loved it so much, that I am not satisfied with just accomplishing this goal. I want to take it further to the next step; I want to make it PERMANENT that I start and I want to play THE WHOLE GAME for EVERY GAME. That sounds a little selfish but I think it's more common in rugby than other sports for there not to be a lot of subs. So after the game I wasn't even satisfied with what I had done today; I went out on a run around the park and then I practically died of exhaustion. It's great to see when your hard work pays off. Even though it really shouldn't and kind of isn't that big of a deal, it's an upgrade from where I was before. I should be proud of what I've done, but I can't stop here and let it get to me! I'm going to push even harder and work even more to be stronger. I have such motivation to do better, and I'm going to do anything I can to get there! I feel like this is just a foot in the door, and I just have to keep pushing harder to get more and more and more (that rhymed, sometimes I love myself).

October 8th, 2008: Rugby practice was great today, I'm really glad and happy with the stuff we did. On Monday I was a little upset with practice and what we did. After practice I was SO cold and SO dirty, and just sitting in my bed in my pajamas and under the blankets all showered and clean and feeling so wonderful is really making me appreciate everything that I have.

October 6th, 2008: This weekend was great, but I'm just incredibly sore. In the game on Saturday, someone LITERALLY full on stepped on my leg with their cleat with a ton of force. And today at practice when I tackled someone, their knee fell RIGHT on top of the already deep and insanely painful bruise and made it worse, and I was still able to get up like it didn't hurt or like I didn't feel it. AND, after that I ran the park which is about 2 miles and sprinted the end... like it didn't hurt. WELL FAHK MY LIFE IT HURTS! But taking a hot shower helped, I really hope it stops hurting ASAP because I don't want to miss a day of running.

September 15th, 2008: I LOVE THE RUGBY TEAM. ♥ But I can't write my paper until I get this off my mind (maybe that's just an excuse for procrastination but oh well). Today at rugby practice, I noticed that I was actually too happy and too giggly. It was affecting the way that I was playing and that's really really bad. It may not have been the whole reason why I was playing off today, but it sure was probably at least half of the reason. I'm really upset with myself for doing that, but at least I am addressing the situation and giving myself constructive criticism. In the second half of practice, I even proved to myself that I was right in my theory. I focused more and I was more serious when we were practicing scrums and at the same time in between scrums and running or when someone wasn't explaining something I was smiley and happy. When I did this, I played much better and people didn't think that I was any less happy than I am. In fact, if I'm smiley and giggly all the time and I suck like I did the first half of practice, then no one would really like me or respect me because then I'd just look like some idiot bimbo prouncing around. I think it's because I'm a hard worker and strong in rugby but at the same time really happy and nice that makes people like me on the team. I don't think that I can ever really be smiley and happy all the time when playing rugby or else I won't be good at it, especially since I don't even know the whole game yet. I'm still really new at this, and I need to be totally focused and working hard all the time. Hopefully I can keep that in the back of my mind next practice. Luckily today and Saturday have been giving me wake up calls, and I think it's really going to help me play better.

September 8th, 2008: Fuck, we ran so much at rugby practice today that my feet are literally bleeding immensely. A shower is going to hurt like an absolute bitch. I'm soooooo tired.

August 30th, 2008: Probably the best decision I made since I've been here is joining the rugby team; the girls on the team are all SO nice and they're all upperclassmen which is sick. Tonight I was just waiting for my dinner at Upper Deck and three of them wanted me to sit with them and then they came up to my room! And the sport itself is so incredibly sick. The reason why on Powderpuff our offense was absolute shit was because they kept using RUGBY plays, not football plays. Not that rugby plays are bad, but they're only allowed to pass backwards. In football you can obviously pass forward which is definitely an advantage. That's probably why the interceptions I had in Powderpuff were legit right in front of my face; they would make these shit lob passes that just floated in the air for me to snag.