By Thomas Young Contributing Writer
The women’s rugby team is hosting and planning events in an attempt to attract new players and more funds. Upcoming events include a Pura Vida bracelet sale, a rugby themed t-shirts sale, and a Lula Wiles concert at Titcomb Mountain on August 25th.
Captain Erin Buckland, the president of the club, is primarily in charge of the concert fundraiser. Although still in the planning stages, Buckland estimated the ticket cost to be around $15 for the community, with high potential for a UMF student discount. The concert could feature other artists as well. “We may have a local band open,” said Buckland. “It will be outside, which is sweet, but I hope it doesn’t rain.”
Gianna Cialdea, the newly appointed recruitment chair, and Tegan Bradley, the PR chair, are in charge of recruiting new players through event planning and publicity. Cialdea recently organized her first ice cream social in The Landing. The ice cream social incorporated the teams main strategies of recruitment by displaying a professional Rugby game on a projector, providing a laid back environment for recruits to meet the current players. The ice cream social was “more for publicity” Cialdea said, something that can be hard to get on campus.
The players also get publicity by occasionally tabling outside of the dining hall. When tabling, the girls will try to compile some team related shirts and jerseys to display. Sometimes the players will even play a game so other students can get a feel for the sport.
The team receives some funding from the school, but is also required to fundraise on their own. T-shirt sales have been successful in the past, and the team plans on doing more in the future. The team is also looking into selling custom Pura Vida bracelets for approximately $8 in the fall. These bracelets will be exclusively sold by them club, and will not be found online elsewhere.
Some players feel that there is a false claim associated with rugby athletes: that is, that all players are hulking behemoths. However, Cialdea feels as though “everybody has a rugby body.” Captain and Vice President Audrey Kahrs adds, “it’s important that people realize you don’t have to be a certain size to play.”
Cialdea also believes that this offensive depiction of rugby athletes creates a negative stigma about the players character, even though they are, in fact, “very welcoming” individuals. With fifteen different positions to fill, the players are confident that they can find a role for any student that is interested.
The team is very tight knit, and can attribute this to traditions like team dinners, “bigs and littles” – which provide new players a peer-mentor who has been on the team for more than one year. The camaraderie is what “separates the Farmington (rugby) team from other teams,” Cialdea said.
Kahrs summarizes the 2018 fall semester season as a “rebuilding season for us” said Kahrs. Last season was a unique season for the team because they had just went up a division, from New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) to Colonial Coast.
The spring semester is considered the team’s off-season. “[The] off-season is helpful for everyone to recover,” said Kahrs. The spring semester is much more relaxed for the team due to the lower quantity of games. Both Kahrs and Cialdea agree that the spring semester is the best time for new members to join because there is more time to learn the game as opposed to joining during the busy, fall season.
The team highly encourages any student that is interested in playing – or even just learning about the sport – to reach out. All of the club members are willing to provide details about practices and how to get started. Students can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with the team.