I played football for 12 years, having the joy of playing from the first grade through high school. I had some great moments while playing it too. It was a tough decision to decide not to play any level of collegiate football, giving up a game I love so much. Since coming to Wittenberg though, I found a new sport which I enjoy, maybe even more than football. That sport is rugby.While not the money making and attention grabbing sport that football is, rugby is a game that boast its own following. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love football, but rugby may just be better, and here are five reasons why.
1. There are multiple ways to play rugby
For those who do not know, rugby is similar to football. The basic premise of the game is that a team tries to move the ball down the field and into the end zone to score points, while an opposing team tries to stop them. Rugby though, believe it or not, was first played before football, and has had an influence on the way football is played. There are a couple of different laws surrounding rugby, which vary slightly. This allows for the same basic game to be played by many people around the world. In rugby union, the most common type and what is often by just rugby, you can play with two different numbers of people: a full 15 on 15 match (15s) or seven on seven (sevens). American football, however, can be played with only one basic set of rules, which can lead to some less popularity.
2. Rugby is more of an international sport
Rugby is not an American invention. It was first played in England, and it is most popular in other areas of the world. The game is popular in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and other parts of the world. It has international appeal, which leads to international competition, such as World Cups. National teams take pride in winning competitions for their countries. Interest in rugby has even become more popular within the United States, especially at colleges like Wittenberg. Meanwhile, the extent of football stays mostly within the United States, even though the game is slowly becoming more popular in other parts of the world.
3. Women’s Rugby is a Legitimate Thing
One thing you pretty much will not find in the world is a professional women’s football league that plays the game the same way men play it. However, there are legitimate women’s rugby leagues at all levels of the game. There are college rugby teams, including here at Wittenberg. Professional women’s rugby, much like the sport in general, is on the rise for women. There are even Women’s national teams. However, American football is still seen as a man’s sport, giving very few, if any, opportunities for women.
4. Rugby is an Olympic sport
This year in Rio during the 2016 Olympics, rugby fans across the world rejoiced. For the first time since 1924, 92 years ago, rugby was played in the Olympics. The game’s rising popularity over recent years lead the IOC to add rugby back into the games. Rugby Sevens, a variant of traditional rugby, made its Olympic debut. Competition over six days and both genders ended with Fiji and Australia taking the gold medals, Great Britain and New Zealand taking the silver medals, and South Africa and Canada taking the bronze medals in men’s and women’s respectively. The US did also field teams, finishing ninth in men’s and fifth in women’s, both in 12 team fields. Fiji’s win in the men’s tournament also marked their first-ever gold medal in the country’s history.
5. Rugby is a tougher sport than football
I am not saying football isn’t a tough sport to play. Preparing for a football season has become a full year commitment. However, rugby has one big difference that football cannot say. Rugby is played, for the most part, without protective equipment. That means if you get hit, which happens a lot, your body has to take the entire blow of said hit. In football, pads can absorb a lot of the hit. Play is physical in most phases of the game of rugby, so you need strength like a football player to play the game. You also need endurance like a soccer player.