Women’s rugby season ending, but team relationships last

Though the season is wrapping up, that doesn’t stop Calvin’s women’s rugby team from continuing their intensity until the very end.

Sophomore Wangeci Macharia, the team’s social coordinator, who also plays “back field,” reflected on how the season was winding down:

“The season is almost done, but since we need the field to play, and it’s freezing outside, we are mostly conditioning and traveling to scrimmages right now.”

The rugby season started in September and officially ends in May. From September to December, the team plays about a game each week, while the rest of the season they condition and will play unofficial games about every three weeks. Rugby is an extremely intense sport, and the girls are very open and accepting.

“We believe in the wholeness of rugby as a sport; we don’t just take in people who have played before,” Macharia explained. “At Cokes and Clubs we are always looking for new girls, some who have never even heard of it, to train them and play with them. It’s not just a sports team, it’s a social and team-building environment.”

Macharia said the friendships are the best part of being on the team and that the girls hang out off the playing field a lot more than other teams.

Positions of leadership on the team come with many commitments, said junior Madisyn Kuipers, vice president and co-captain of the team.

“I assist with duties such as scheduling matches with other colleges, going to leadership events, writing workouts and practices every week and teaching new girls the rules and game of rugby,” Kuipers said. She also makes posters for the team and posts on their social media platforms.

Kuipers agreed with Macharia in that her favorite part of being on the team has been the relationships she has formed.

“I’ve loved growing so close over the last three years with old and new girls and developing a family on campus.” Kuipers didn’t know rugby even existed before she attended Calvin.

“And now I’m on my way to play for the GR-area team over the summer!”

Kuipers said the team has improved this year.

“We have definitely become more focused. Our team struggled with leadership when I was a freshman, since all of the seniors had graduated without delegating responsibility to younger generations. We have reinvented our goals and principles and have made a solid platform to build off of for the years to come.”

While Kuipers is a Calvin rugby veteran, this is sophomore Maggie Hendricks’ first season on the team. She explained how physically challenging the sport was for her in the beginning, especially considering she never played sports growing up.

“There’s no pressure to be this incredible person. Our captains are pretty much the most incredible women ever and never made me feel bad or weak when I couldn’t do something or didn’t understand a play.” She explained that the team tries to push each other physically but always out of positive motivation.

Though the season is coming to a close, the relationships between the girls continue to grow.