Sunday, May 6, 2012

The end of a dynasty.

Yup, I never thought I'd see the day but it finally came: my last time in my school's rugby uniform. Ugh, that was even hurtful to type. As displayed above, I bawled my freakin' eyes out. I can't imagine my life without this team and without this sport. I'm already making plans to play after I graduate, but this team bond cannot be replaced. But luckily, I know deep down that it won't fade away! I know that I'll be a nosy gal and be inquiring about every single game, practice, you name it. AND I better start making plans to be able to come back for next year's alumni weekend because I certainly cannot miss it!
As a team, we played absolutely atrocious. But as one of my alumni reminded me today, these are the girls that brought us to states 2 years in a row....of COURSE they're fantastic. But I'm so grateful for them; not only have they instilled in me such a passion for rugby, but they set such a good example for all the younger players. It's truly amazing how they can go for a long period of time of not even seeing each other, yet still play rugby like they just had an entire season together. And I love it how every single player has their own style of play - they're all so uniquely good at rugby and able to utilize each other's skills in different ways. They're awesome.

Thanks old and new teammates for giving me the greatest 4 years of my life. I've enjoyed every single second of it. Every win, loss, sprint to and from the tree in the park we had to do every time we talked over coach, every run around the park, every game of chicken in the hen house, every loaf of bread we've tossed in a circle, every fupa we've ever worn, every piece of music we've sliced and diced, all the rubber ducky stretches we've done, all the bruises we've earned, all the mud and dirt we've engulfed ourselves in...I've enjoyed all of it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Challenge yourself.

Why haven't I written in this in a little while? Sheesh. We had a rugby scrimmage a few weeks ago and usually I bolt to the computer to write about it because I'm so excited! I think the reason why I didn't after the last scrimmage was because it was so freakin' rainy and FREEZING out that I couldn't move afterwards. Per usual though, one of rugby's miracles is that it can be a monsoon out and you won't even notice because you're so IN THE ZONE. But I definitely felt it after the fact, and I cuddled up under a blanket and didn't move for a whileeee (especially because on rugby day you can't change out of your uniform after the game when you hang with the team later!!). I always forget how much of a thrill it is to play against people who are better than you in rugby; it's such a wonderful opportunity and privilege! I'm so glad we're in contact with a Division I team because we can scrimmage with them on a regular basis. I don't think I ever learn more about playing rugby than when I get my ass handed to me on a platter by playing with people who are more experienced and skilled than I am. It sounds horrifying and like such a bad idea to play with people who are better than you, but in reality it makes you step up your game in ways you didn't even think were possible! And afterwards, even if you only play with them for 5 minutes, you've evolved into even better of a player without even noticing it. There's no amount of practicing or training you can do that can replace that kind of experience. I just wish everyone took advantage of that the second it's available! It's like what one of our most experienced vets said at the team meeting yesterday:

"Challenge yourself."

Especially hearing it from her, because she is the epitome of a fantastic rugby player, those words just sent a chill down my spine. She's so RIGHT. Especially for rugby, you really have NO IDEA what you're capable of until you challenge yourself - and I'm pretty sure every time you surprise yourself. I bet at least half of the people on the team never even imagined themselves being able to play rugby in the first place; I know I never thought this is where I would end up, and now this is seriously my lifestyle! My life revolves around rugby, and I was certainly not expecting it to! I think in rugby people shouldn't "expect" anything - shouldn't expect to win or lose, because underdogs can come out of nowhere, shouldn't expect to play good or bad, etc. Don't set a limit or a bar on your potential. The sky is the limit!

This all makes me that much more excited for alumni weekend coming up this Saturday: we will be playing our alumni in a friendly game that will be super fun but super competitive!! Our alumni are BOMB - not only are they all fantastic rugby players, but they are fantastic people. I hope that they will reflect to the rest of the team why I am so dedicated to rugby now. I'm so grateful that they were the people I started off my rugby career with, because they are the ones that made me find the joy in playing and made me as hard of a worker as I am today. They made me never give up when I thought I would never start a game of rugby in my entire life or even be good at rugby at all. They made me KEEP GOING, and KEEP TRYING, even though I failed a million times before. And because of that....I cherish every single minute I get to be on a rugby field in a uniform (or not in a uniform at practice, on the sideline cheering on the team, etc). 

But on the flip side...I'm about to totally contradict myself. I've been driving myself CRAZY with fitness for rugby. Sometimes...I might take it a little too far and drive myself to insanity. If one day I get too tired or don't do enough to satisfy me, then I'm bummed out for the rest of the day and feel like a failure. I know that something is better than nothing at all, but I can't help but have this absolutely psychotic perfectionism with rugby. I think I take it personally whenever we fail as a team or when someone stops liking rugby. Sometimes (more often than not) I blame it on my fitness, and think that I didn't lead by example and I didn't do enough to be a good rugby example. I always think "Maybe they would have come to the game if I made one more tackle....maybe the team wouldn't have failed this season if I ran one more mile...maybe we wouldn't be struggling so much if I set a better example and made a better pass........" and it goes on and on and on and ONNNNNN. I literally woke up in the middle of the night once last week in a legit panic attack: heavy chest, hyperventilating, etc. and thinking that I had completely RUINED the team somehow. That it was all my fault that people weren't as enthusiastic about rugby as I was and that everything would go down the shitter because I wasn't a good leader and didn't work hard enough, or score enough tries, or make enough tackles, or...or....SOMETHING. I'm breathing heavy writing this right now! It's stupid, and almost selfish, to think that I'm the sole reason for this TEAM having struggles....but, again, I think it's just a reflection of how much I deeply care about everyone. I consider these people my FAMILY. But it's almost like all the enjoyment I get out of rugby also has a dark side; I care about it and everyone on the team SO much that I practically kill myself with stress and worry and criticism over it. I pay a heavy price to do my best in every practice and game. I don't think I could ever communicate here or to anyone else everything I have given to this team and to rugby; most of it I wholeheartedly gave willingly...but partially it's been too much and even extremely damaging to myself. I'm EXHAUSTED sometimes from being rugby's cheerleader. But at the same time, I'll never stop because I love it that much.