The Magic of Sports

How One Team Changed the Name of the Game from Sports to Magic

By ***** *****

When I met ***** *****, my first and most immediate thought was, “Wow.  She’s tall.” I felt kind of embarrassed as soon as I realized that was what I was thinking, because that’s doesn’t seem like the most polite thing to think about a person, but I also had to reason with myself that I didn’t have much else to think about her.  What I knew was what I could see - that she was tall and that she probably liked flannel - and what I already knew about her - which was mostly her name, that she was a year ahead of me, and that she was the captain of the rugby team.

That last one was why I was even talking to *****, this stranger I hardly knew.  Because it wasn’t just ***** I didn’t know anything about. It was rugby. And it was sports.  Because I am almost 20 years old and have never once seen a homerun with my own eyes, or made a basket on my own, or attended a tailgate game, and also, honestly, I’m not entirely sure what sport that last one is related to.  Because I am simply not a sports person. I am really much more of a books and cartoons kind of person.

But as of late, I’ve also been trying to come out of my comfort zone more often.  In many ways, I guess I could say I’ve been forced out of it, so I guess I just also wanted to take steps to make sure I was leaving my comfort zone on my own terms as well.  Which, in this case, meant introducing myself to rugby captain and fellow Spring Grove student, *****, as well as to the world of sports at large.

So, what did I learn from Captain ***** of the Spring Grove Rugby Team?  Well, for one thing, I think I learned that rugby isn’t just like, another flavor of football.  Because that was kind of what I was thinking it was - maybe just a more old fashioned kind of football that was only popular in Europe or something.  But no - it is very much its own game with its own rules, which the Captain explained to me over our meeting - all of which I wouldn’t even dare to explain here, because I would never want to risk misrepresenting how eloquently she explained the noble nature of her game.  I am only able to represent it with the very brief quote I got from the Captain when I managed to remember to record, near the very end of our meeting.

“Look, it’s a simple game, Bee,” the Captain said, referencing a nickname I have unrelated to my real name, right after finishing her second 16 oz energy drink since the beginning of our interview.  “There’s a ball that’s called the rugby ball. You can run with it or kinda pass, but you don’t wanna get caught in a ruck or a maul, cause then you gotta start over with a scrum. But yeah, you basically just gotta get the ball from Point A to Point B.”

But the fascinating nature of gameplay wasn’t the only that made me take a fresh look at the world of sports.  It was also seeing the gameplay of the rugby Captain’s rugby team - the skill of the ball handling, the simple elegance of what I think was the scrums, and above all, the strength it took to play this fast and brutal game.  

Not literal strength entirely.  Obviously, no one on this team is strong enough to carry the entire team either figuratively or literally, but all of these women on the Captain’s team are all incredibly strong in body and mind and teamwork to be playing this incredibly violent and dangerous game to protect their Point B.  I truly admire and aspire to have that level of teamwork and protectiveness in my life. Sports truly are a magical thing, and meeting the Captain has truly changed my outlook on sports and on life.

This is an opinion piece and is not meant to represent the thoughts, values, or standards of writing of the Spring Grove College Gazette.