Thursday night marked the last practice of the week for the Spartan Women’s Rugby Team. As practice wrapped up, I approached two of them – Mary Judge and Dianna Posey – for their thoughts on their experiences on the team and their thoughts on the season.
I asked the reason they joined the team.
“Well, I played soccer for 12 years, through high school, and then I was at UNCG S.O.A.R. and they had a rugby table and I was, like, this looks interesting so I decided to try it,” Mary Judge informed me. When asked the same question, Dianna Posey said:
“Mostly because when you come here you’re a new student looking for something to join and be part of something bigger than yourself. I mean, that’s UNCG’s whole thing, right? Do something bigger altogether? So, my freshman year I was lucky enough to have a former teammate say to me after class “You have to find your home in a place that’s so huge”. I came out and I found my home, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Then, the two players discussed the season so far. Mary said,
“I love it! I think we’re doing alright. We just had our tournament up in Boone and I think it’s going really well.” (The tournament that she was referring to was the Rucktoberfest tournament that was held at Appalachian State.)
Dianna agreed, stating:
“I think the season’s going really well. I mean, everyone’s still learning stuff. It’s kinda hard when you’re learning a new sport that isn’t well known in the States and then you’re playing a game, like, three weeks later. Everyone’s really progressing and I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made this semester.”
Both of them agreed that a lot of this progress was due to the coaching staff. They spoke specifically of one of the coaches: Mariah Bullom. On the coaching staff in general, Megan commented:
“I love my coach so much. Her name is Mariah Bullom and the Board is wonderful and everyone on the team is wonderful.” Adding onto this, Dianna said:
“Our coaching staff is great. Mariah is really one of the greatest coaches. She has a passion for rugby and the aptitude to teach it well, which is hard to find because not everybody can teach, and she really has a heart for it.”
When it came time for them to discuss the strengths of this year’s team, Mary highlighted this group’s communication skills, reporting:
“We have really good communication. We get along really well. We’re very aggressive.”
Dianna chose to discuss a different aspect of the team, noting that:
“Everybody’s commitment is a huge strength this year. It’s really hard to keep your numbers up in rugby because it’s not well known but everybody’s committed to coming out: learning, listening, and being open-minded and really contributing to this family atmosphere that we’re trying to create.”
Every team has its weaknesses, and when I asked the two of them what they believed this team’s weakness is, Dianna told me that “Every team has their strengths, like we just said. I really think that we can work on out fitness, but that’s just part of being a new group. We have to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses as individuals so we can grow as a team.”
Mary succinctly commented that their team really needed to “Just [get] more experience. A lot of us are new players.”
Finally, when asked what they want to see going forwards, Dianna captured the sentiment of both players, saying:
“I hope to see more people come out to rugby. This is a great sport, especially for women, it’s a great sport to empower them and it gives them the opportunity to push themselves and learn more about who they are.”
The Spartans will be playing their final game of the semester against Guilford College November 12 here at UNCG.