The CC Cutthroat Rugby Team

The CC Cutthroat Rugby Team

Bridget Galaty '21

Major: Undeclared

I'm on your right."
Run, don't look back, hit hard.
Then sing a silly song tonight.
Love you!"

The CC Cutthroat Rugby team is the most important community I have had the opportunity to be a part of at college. Both on and off the field, I know that I have found a family. From all the silly nicknames they have given me (Birdget, Muffget, My Hole, PterodactBull, Brisket, etc.) to the sense of trust that this team embodies, I cannot imagine a better group of people to play alongside.

Just after midnight on a chilly Saturday in December, I walked back to my room in a daze. I could not begin to contain my joy. I found myself standing in the middle of Armstrong Quad unable to think about anything except love. The events of the past few hours rushed through my head, and I struggled to piece together all the amazing things I had just experienced. In the course of one evening, I felt I had been transformed from a member of a team into a member of a family. I was filled with emotion, and I could tell that that moment would truly mark the beginning of many lifelong friendships. While so much had happened in such a short time span, this whole thing didn't all happen overnight.

I played rugby in middle school and high school. After years of trying soccer then T-ball then tennis and even fencing, I had never really found a sport that really felt right, so when I first started rugby I assumed it would be the same way. I came to be pleasantly surprised. The community I found in the game of rugby was unlike any I had seen in the sports I had played before.

After many years of rugby, I've found that most people don't really know much about the sport, and what they do know comes mostly from seeing the films Invictus or Murder Ball or from watching the New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka (if you don't know what that is, I strongly recommend checking it out). From that minimal exposure, it can be easy to assume that all rugby players are beefy men who love aggression and beating people up. In reality, I've known far fewer people who fit this rugby stereotype and far more who totally buck the trend.

The thing about rugby is that the people who find themselves drawn to the sport tend to be misfits in some way shape or form. Maybe it's that they don't feel like they fit in playing other sports or that they were looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. Maybe it's that they're small but like to hit people or that they're super-fast and want to pass the ball. Maybe it's that they never felt comfortable with the binary division of "men's" and "women's" sports or else it's just that they're fascinated by playing a sport with so many rules that even the referees don't always know what's going on. Whatever it is, rugby definitely draws together a motley crew who are bound by both their differences and their shared love of the game.

Going into college, I knew that rugby was something I wanted to keep pursuing. When I was in the final stages of the college decision process, I met with the rugby captains at my top schools and asked them what the teams were like and even checked out a couple practices. So as soon as I got to CC, I sought to hit the ground running.

I can remember from the first practice being impressed by the comradery of the team. It was clear that everyone was excited to begin a new season and all the members of the team were excited to see each other. The love was palpable, and I couldn't wait to be a part of it.

From the early stages, I was glad to find that people wanted to know you for who you were as a person. The team was quick to pick-up on names and soon learned what each person's individual skills were. The people I met were clearly interested in my life and they already treated me as a friend, even after we'd only met once or twice. During my second block, my class took a weeklong fieldtrip, and when I returned people told me they had been concerned where I had been. After only knowing these people for a few weeks, they were already invested in me.

I was soon excited to learn about the team's stance on being the Cutthroat Rugby team rather than the women's team. The inclusivity of the team runs deep and wide and it is clear that players are dedicated to supporting each other. We have multiple members of the team who identify outside the gender binary, and we deliberately refer to each other as mates rather than ladies or guys. As a gender-nonconforming person, it has been weird in the past trying to fit into the strict male/female dynamic of sports. In rugby (and on the Cutthroat rugby team especially), I have never felt questioned and have always felt supported - even celebrated - for being my authentic self.

One of my big fears about playing rugby in college was that I had heard the team had a big party culture. As someone who is intentionally substance-free, I worried that I wouldn't be able to find a place in the social network of the team. I quickly learned that this would not be the case. From the first rugby social I attended, it was clear that no one cared whether or not I imbibed and were much more concerned with making sure I was having fun even if I didn't drink. My teammates offered to let me play the games without drinking and encouraged me to participate as fully as I wanted. (Somehow, even in an uninhibited state, I'm still not very good at any of the games.) As the year went on, they began to buy me soda to drink instead of alcohol and would always make sure to tell me where the nonalcoholic beverages were. Safety and comfort are paramount to this team and there is no pressure to do anything you don't want to.

That's the thing about CC Rugby. Everyone wants to see you succeed and will fight for you however you need it. From the lowest of low to the highest of high both on and off the pitch I know my teammates will be there to support me.

Leaving the social on that cold Saturday night, I was reminded of the love of this team. And I couldn't wait to keep on rucking.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020