Community, Respect, and the love of the game
Rugby culture is created out of two different, but connected, parts: The sense of brotherhood (or sisterhood) and camaraderie shared between players in a club; and the mutual respect between all clubs, which comes from their collective respect for the game. It’s widely accepted among rugby players that the uniquely strong bond between teammates in a rugby club is present in most teams, and from this understanding a mutual respect between all rugby players is formed.
In reality, part of what draws people to the game – players and fans alike – is the cultural core of rugby. It features a noble and honorable combination of camaraderie, loyalty and respect that’s not found in other sports. Fans know it to be unique to the sport of rugby; players recognize it as something that, compared to other athletes, makes them a cut above the rest. And when uninformed people come to see rugby for what it really is, they’re often surprised and humbled.
A physicality with precise form
To the uninitiated and uninformed, rugby can appear to be several things at once: American football without the pads and frequent stoppages; a sport more concerned with after-party etiquette than the game itself; an athletic competition that’s guaranteed to leave most of the players injured after every match; the sort of sport populated by ex-convicts and deranged mental patients.
While there are only a few shreds of accuracy in these positions, it is true that most people discover and stay with rugby because of the physical nature of the game. This is at least in part because such people see that physicality as what distinguishes rugby from other sports. However, a far more popular theory about why people join a rugby team revolves around the the oft-held (and largely inaccurate) perception that rugby players care more about the social element of the sport than actually playing the game itself. This guide seeks to dispel this and many other myths, and leave you with an authentic depiction of the hooligan’s game played by gentlemen: Rugby.
USA Eagles during a Rucking Drill
An Identity Built out of Community
After a match the home team will have organized some kind of get-together after the game, one in which both teams will hang out and socialize. It’s not unusual for this kind of activity to take place at a bar or restaurant in which the home team frequents. Many rugby teams are sponsored by those kinds of businesses, and feel obligated to bring their sponsors some business when they can, which also plays into the (inaccurate) perception that rugby players just want to drink and party.
This hospitality extends further than a post-match gathering. Especially among college teams, the home team will often provide sleeping accommodations for the visiting team(s), usually by letting the players of other teams crash at the houses of the home team’s players. Someone wanting to make similar claims about other sports would be hard pressed to find evidence that their sport would provide the same level of hospitality as rugby.