As I returned to campus this fall, I made a promise to myself. The promise was to branch out, meet new people, and try new things. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to join, and I even walked throughout the involvement fair multiple times and just didn’t seeing anything that stuck out to me. It really made me feel discouraged.
In high school, I was one of those students who was very involved. Maybe even over-involved. I was a three-sport athlete, part of student council and about four other organizations. When I came to college, I figured that would continue, but I was wrong. I spent my freshman year focusing on my school work and a few small activities here and there, but I just never put myself out there and joined something that would take up a good part of my schedule and at the same time, challenge me.
I went through my first year of college hanging with random people here and there, getting good grades, and doing what I thought was right for me. However, I realized that my social life wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I had my roommate who I am lucky enough to be great friends with, and I had really only one other good friend here at Gustavus. Of course, I had those people who I talked to in class, but I didn’t really have anybody else beyond those two girls. I missed the team aspect of a sport, and I missed having a variety of friends to hang out with on the weekends. The weekends would come, and if my roommate was gone, I never had anybody to hang out with. I wanted a friend group, and I didn’t know how to get that because that is something that I have never really had at any point in my life.
My friend, Ella and I were hanging out in her room on the first Saturday night of this school year, and she looked at me and said, “I’m playing rugby this year. You should play too!” When she told me this, I looked at her like she was crazy. I even laughed. I just couldn’t picture myself as a rugby player.
However, after the involvement fair as I was discouraged about not finding an interest in anything. I was texting Ella, and she mentioned rugby again. Maybe her texting me about it again was fate? I don’t know, but I decided right then and there that I was going to give rugby a try because…why not? I thought about it, and it was exactly what I was looking for: a good time commitment, something that would challenge me, and a team full of women that I would soon find out are absolutely amazing.
I went to my first rugby practice, and I am not even kidding, from the moment I stepped onto the pitch, I knew that I made the right decision. It wasn’t because I knew anything about the sport because I literally didn’t know a single thing. I didn’t even know what a rugby ball looked like. It was because of how welcomed every single girl on the team made me feel. They answered my questions, encouraged me, and were so damn funny! I received a “rugby nickname” the very first day, and I left my first practice with a smile. Don’t even get me started about the team pasta dinners and team socials because they were so much fun! I’ll definitely never forget them.
I have only been on the rugby team for about three weeks now, and as cliche, as it sounds, I feel like I have been on it forever. The girls make me truly feel wanted, and I already love them all so much! I still have SO much to learn about this crazy sport, but I am so excited to do it with these girls by my side.
ALL PHOTOS BY CORBYN JENKINS