By Journey Bubar Contributing Writer
Buckland has been playing on the Women’s Rugby team since freshman year at UMF and is looking forward to another promising season with her teammates.
Since Women’s Rugby is a club sport, they usually don’t have enough players to fill the 15 field positions, but this year Buckland is happy to see a large number
of new recruits. “Sometimes we wouldn’t have any subs, so by the end of the 80-minute game, we’d only have 13 players left on the field,” said Buckland.
Buckland mentioned that new players aren’t expected to know everything about the game, and that the coaches and fellow players are happy to teach the rookies everything they need to know. “If you put the time and work in, everyone can do it. That’s the thing about rugby, it’s a really easy game to fall in love with,” said Buckland.
Buckland explained that having rugby be a club sport presents some challenges. “I think that we’re sometimes looked at and treated differently for being a club sport,” Buckland said. “It’s hard to recruit varsity athletes because they want to stick with the level they’re playing at, so they don’t even take a look at rugby which is sad, because they should.”
Another challenge the team faces is that the UMF Fleet doesn’t always have enough passenger vans to fulfill the demand between clubs and other sports teams, even when filing the van application on time. “I don’t know the official order, but I know that club sports are last,” Buckland said.
Buckland explained that without consistent access to UMF vans, the team has had to rent passenger vans from a third-party which costs more, or they have to their personal cars certified so they can drive to their games.
Buckland explained how every position and player is vital to the game, and how people should give rugby a chance even if they aren’t sure about it. “Since it’s a team sport, every single person needs to be doing their job or we’re not going to succeed,” said Buckland.
Before their Saturday games, the team likes to have a Friday night dinner to prepare and bond. “We always try to have a rugby game playing in the background,” said Buckland. “It helps the rookies know what to expect.”
Practicing is also really important before big games. They warm up, do some drills, and scrimmage each other just like every other sport. But the team really focuses on building communication. “Everything you do in rugby requires communication,” said Buckland.
Buckland admitted that she still feels a little bit nervous before a game, even after playing for so long. “The previous captain said something that really stuck with me,” said Buckland. “She was like, ‘You have to go out and you have to want it the most.’ And honestly, if you do want it the most, the nerves just go away.”
“So even if I get my van request in on time, if academics or varsity sports wants the vans, they’ll take the Women’s Rugby vans away for them to have.”