Booze, Abuse and Playing Blues

In the first of our Rugby blogs, WILL SMITH looks at the predudice that dominates our University.

Entering this season off the back of losing two consecutive Varsity Matches and something of a regime change in the club has been quite intense. Generally speaking, the mood within the team is positive, and we are looking forward to December with only one goal in mind – winning.

With that in mind, somebody decided that it might be a good idea to write a vaguely-related-to-rugby blog for The Tab, and worse still, that I should do it. So with little more than a thinly veiled stab at shameless promotion for the rugby team, I’d like to address an emotional issue that a lot of the players within the squad have been coping with recently. Prejudice.

Playing rugby for the blues requires a lot of things: work ethic, stamina, skill and dedication, to name a few. However, what is often not so well known about the life of a blues rugby player is the need to endure the judgment of peers. Other sports players might understand this – the scorn heaped upon you by intellectually snobbish colleagues, simply because you happen to engage in physical pursuits as well as intellectual ones.

Purportedly, rugby is a game for thugs, but played by gentlemen, and thus I can’t understand the basis by which such a bulk of the undergraduate population takes an instant dislike to rugby players. There is a particularly harmful misnomer that gets thrown about these days, as other derogatory and racist terms have been in the past – ‘Rugby Lad’.

 Who says ‘Rugby Lads’ are all posh ugly twats?

It seems to me that a bulk of the university population has an utterly misguided view of rugby players as obnoxious alcoholics, intent on destructive revelry. It is for this reason that I have decided to take this opportunity to attempt to counter some of the persecution faced by players on a daily basis.

To support this argument, I will give some examples from the last couple of weeks. One back-rower, who declined to be named for modesty’s sake, was spotted just a matter of days ago caring for a drunk and injured teammate on his way to Life. The ‘Rugby Lad’, confronted with the same situation, would presumably have opted to laugh and continue onwards, but this saintly individual took the sensible option, called an ambulance, and tenderly waited by his side until it arrived. That he was responsible for the facial abrasions is neither here nor there.

Alright, maybe some of them are…

Another example I will use is one Downing 3rd year, second or back rower. Admittedly, he has been heard before citing his ‘chat’ as his best asset, but this was done almost ironically, sort of. He is a prime example of the persecution faced by misunderstood rugby players: Frequently spotted in Cindies and Life looking after members of the opposite sex who are a little worse for wear. Upon seeing this, some might jump to conclusions, and assume that he has some sort of ulterior motive. However, he swears to me that his motives are pure, and that he remains a virgin to this day.

Frankly, I find it disappointing, even a little disgusting, that in such an open-minded place, the noble actions of various team members are ignored, and vicious rumours circulated in their place. Although I could go on listing countless examples of the charitable work done by players, I can’t, but in light of the new evidence that I have already provided, I hope I will have gone some way to convincing you that rugby players are in fact humanitarians of the highest degree.