Only rugby players really like rugby

This is what my friend says to me as we begin our hour drive to Buffalo to play in a Rugby Seven’s tournament. She participated in it last year and really liked it and managed to convince me to play this year with her.

In preparation for the upcoming rugby season, I have been on a diet that eliminates alcohol and most processed sugar and have been on custom off-season program to specifically work on endurance and speed. Leading up to this tournament I tried to run for 7 minutes (each half is seven minutes) and nearly died on the treadmill. Let’s just say, my approach to the tournament was more social than athletic.

When we got to the border, the security control officer asked us what we were doing. We told them we were going to a rugby tournament. It was minus 11 at the moment. He responded…”outside?”, we said yes and he let us through.

The night before I was asking my friend what should I pack, and she went down the list of, tights, lots of socks, a towel, garbage bag if it’s wet and warm clothes…I joked and said so I’m bringing a parka and everything I didn’t pack when I was in Miami. The things you do for friends.

When we finally arrived, the bitter cold was so piercing that our warm-up was literally putting on our kit, taking off the layers to play. Our team was called the Misfits and our first game we didn’t have enough people to play sevens. We only had fives. So we played a game of rugby fives, which we kinda made up on the spot. That game I actually scored a try and got the wind knocked out of me because I landed on the ball.

The next game was a little more intense but because we had more players and the team was a lot bigger. Once again, it just means that I have to work on my tackling, or just like everyone on the team was saying, just get it to the wings…because I’m fast and they were losing a lot of their rucks.

Because it was so cold and we had won 2 of our games, the last game was against Niagara. We knew that they probably won their games so why not just call this game the championship game and let us go home early. The organizers agreed. I had one glorious yet tragic moment where I had the ball, no one was nearly in sight until I panicked and slowed down to try to deck out one of their biggest players and got plowed by her. Thank god one of our subs was on the sidelines and I she was able to come in while I recovered. Then the medic and another parent came over to see if I was ok because I got hit pretty hard. Luckily I was and just got the wind knocked out me again. Then 2 of the girls on the opposite team came to me and said that when Madison comes after you, you don’t slow down, you run faster. I took the positive criticism. They said that they thought because we had spent the entire day together they could speak openly as friends. I appreciated it.

We ended up winning the Senior Women’s Battle for the Border Tournament. It was a good start to get me into the season. I was able to get some of my anxiety about playing and figure out the areas that I need improvement with.

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