Opinion: In Defence of Rugby Boys
Rugby lads are actually OK. If you disagree, come at me.
Everything tells me I shouldn’t like rugby boys.
They’re bigger, brasher and better-looking than I am. And yes, often they’re conceited, over-indulged dicks with no understanding of the fact that there are other people occupying the physical space around them.
This becomes a big problem wandering through the hallowed halls of Park End on a Wednesday night, when huge men in blazers turn getting from cheese floor to mainstream room into some sort of Total Wipeout-style obstacle course.
I go to Teddy Hall, a college in which rugby boys make up a noisy and influential minority of the student body.
Sometimes this means that the bar is inaccessible on a Tuesday night because they’re so busy shouting almost-homophobic-but-not-quite chants at a volume normal human males can’t actually reach, and downing pints so fast you can hardly follow what happens.
Sometimes it means that the JCR on a Saturday (or whenever rugby games are shown on TV; I’d research this in more detail but I really struggle to care) is rammed with indecipherable commentary about the trajectory of the hooker or about how that scrum was definitely a foul, when all I want to do is settle down and watch the latest ‘Glee’.
Generally, though, it means we’ve got a college which is full of confident, interesting people, with plenty of funny anecdotes, and a Teddy Hall spirit which brings us so much closer together than any other college of our size.
Despite the stereotypes, it also brings together a college full of people who understand the meaning of supporting teammates, and also supporting their friends in college, as well as standing up for people in JCR meetings who wouldn’t feel comfortable standing up for themselves.
It’s taken me a while to come round to my rugby-loving friends. But I encourage rugby players in my own college and across the university to keep on being themselves.
Just maybe look down occasionally as you storm around Park End and be aware of the tiny scared guy who you’re just about to knock flat on the ground. That’s me.
What does Rugby ‘lad’ culture mean to you? Do you hate it? Do you wish you were part of it?
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