When we look back on some of the attitudes of our children, we can see strains of this coming, perhaps.
Back when Anisa and Karen were 4 and 5 years old, we used to play this game in our
narrow hallway in our home in Harrisonburg. I would sit right in the middle, and dare the girls to find a way to get past me.
Anisa would push against me for a while, and then try to be sneaky- you know, spin moves, feints, and she might wait until I was engaged with Karen before she would try to tiptoe past.
Karen, on the other hand, used to wind up and hit me as hard as she could. That wouldn’t work, so she would back up to the end of the “runway,” and sprint towards me, sometimes launching herself horizontal. I would have to catch her to keep her from belly flopping on a hardwood floor.
So it really was no surprise when Karen came home from managing the middle school boy’s rugby team with the announcement: “We’re going to get a group of girls together to start a girls rugby team.”
And that’s just what they did. Karen and her friend Christina McGee (also a manager) drummed up a gaggle of girls to train a few times and then they would play the only other middle school girls rugby team in the country, supposedly: ISK. Tyler and Joanne Heugal were gracious enough to take on coaching the bunch, and they squeezed in about five practices before the big game.
ISK had been practicing for quite a while longer than Rosslyn, months, apparently, and they came in extremely confident. In fact, their girls were pretty good at trash talking, as several of them “wandered by” Rosslyn players and said things like, “They’re going to carry you off one by one.” (Seriously, one of the girls said that!)
When the game started, it was clear that ISK knew what they were doing, and the ball was down on Rosslyn’s end pretty much the entire first quarter. They didn’t score, though, and Rosslyn broke through with their amazing speed and scored once, and then twice. When ISK scored their try, the ISK parents around me said, “NOW we’re going to dominate!”
It was not to be. Throughout the rest of the game, Rosslyn scored four more tries, and ISK didn’t sniff the goal line again. Rosslyn was just too big and too physical. In fact, the team just hit like a ton of bricks. Teachers watching the game remarked that the girls team hit much harder than the middle school boys team, and Matt Schwandt remarked that if his varsity team hit like these girls did….
Karen got in a number of big hits. She played the game the same way she used to attack
me ten years ago in the hallway. She sprinted towards the ball carrier, and launched herself for the tackle, with no regard for her body. She had a number of hits that made the crowd say, “Oooooooh!” Her best one was after she kicked off to ISK. Karen kicked, and then just sprinted to the player who caught the ball, and laid her out.
Personally, I (John) was pretty nervous heading into this thing. If Karen got hurt….. but as the game went on, I realized that she knows how to tackle, and it was. so. much. fun. I loved it. I found myself later asking Matt if there might be a chance to have a high school girls rugby team in the future?
(The only girls that were hurt in the game were three ISK kids- and none badly, thank goodness.)
Once again, we are thankful for the experiences the girls get to have living here!