Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sweet Sixteen: the year I found rugby and beat people up

My life in stories can be found here.  Start at the beginning though or you'll think I'm aging backwards.

Is there anything worse than being a teenager?  I mean, other than a parent of a teenager?  I think not.  A friend from high school and I were talking the other day after my year fifteen post and she reminded me that what I thought about myself was not how others perceived me.  And then, she reminded me about rugby.

I don't know what made me try out for rugby.  I don't remember, but what I know that when I stepped on the field I knew I belonged there.  The toughest of the tough girls and the fastest of the scrawny girls gathered together to play a game normally reserved for guys.

It was the first year that a girls league was starting in the city and we took to it with passion.  We practiced our hearts out -- running, tackling, scrumming, laughing.  We had comradery even with girls who wouldn't have spoken with us on the school grounds.  We compared bruises and injuries and tackle techniques.  We were suddenly smiling when we used to act sullen and hide from the world.

I loved it.  I loved the scrum (huddle like thing) where we all interlocked.  I was the 8 Man.  The muscle and power at the back end of the scrum.  I held people up and pushed them forward.  That was my role.  Then, when the scrum was finished, I got to run like hell and hit whoever had the ball.  It was everything I loved all rolled into one.

As a teen, I was angry.  I was angry at me and the world and my parents and my siblings and my school and... well, you get the point.  In rugby, I found a place for my anger and violent tendencies that did not involve getting me arrested.  And I was good at it.  I was big, solid, fearless, and would have run directly into a train knowing I could at least slow it down.  I spent a great deal of that season with major bruising and numerous concussions, but I was happy.

After high school, I didn't get to play again.  I worked two jobs right out of school.  I went straight into university while still working and then moved to Saskatoon for a few years.  It's sad that I have glory days that I look back on, but those moments on the field were the happiest of my teenage life.

I'm the one with the arrow pointing at her head.

Even if I was unconscious a lot.


  1. I played football. Why? Because I was one of the "fast scrawny" types. Boys team, as it happens. No concussions to match yours, but my first broken bone. Because it doesn't matter how fast you are if you are weeny and get slammed by some big gorilla.

  2. You forgot two summers on crutches. The last one I remember best. Ella hated your games but this one she went to. We parked the van, got out, started across the ditch to the sideline of the playing field (pitch?). We saw the play start, you get hit and go down and we arrived at your side on the field without ever slowing down or missing a step from when we arrived. Impeccable timing. We hauled you to emerg at Pasqua hospital and that was it for the season.

  3. prairie nymph04/11/2010, 15:22

    I played basketball to get out my teenage angst. (My nickname was Wild Thing) Girls basketball is a contact sport but with more blood and less concussions.

    BTW I thought it was so cool that you played rugby! I used to brag about you. And your crutches just added to the coolness.
    We almost got a girls team started in RTown, but I think only 5 girls wanted to play and we couldn't get a coach.

  4. It was the second year for rugby at our HS. It just got a heck of a lot more attention the second year. And you were really good at it. :)

  5. Was the giant red arrow distracting to your opponents?

  6. Zoe, I can see you playing football.

    Dad, I told you I don't remember a lot from those days. That might be why!

    Prairie: I used to tackle kids during basket ball too.

    Anon (I assume Sabrina): See, it's good I have you around for my memory loss. Thanks! You were good too.

    Roger: It's the reason I was so good. That thing is sharp.


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