STORY BY: JACOB FLORESCA
PHOTOS BY: MATTHEW POIRIER
In Alabama, where football is king, many people will dive headfirst into everything Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. However, many people overlook and are not aware of the many great sports this University, and the state at large, participate in. This story goes into my experience joining the Alabama Rugby Team here at Alabama, and why everyone on this campus should be just as excited about the team as I am.
For those who love football, just like me, rugby can be a very attractive alternative. The jarring hits, electric runs, and fierce competitors are a joy to watch, and even more to play with. When I decided to join the team this summer as a rising senior, I questioned whether I could fit into the team as someone unfamiliar with both the team and the sport. But the team welcomed me with open arms, and I felt like I belonged from the minute I met up to practice.
When joining a new organization, anyone can be wary or nervous of what their experience will be. A tough, physical sport that is practically underground at Alabama could be viewed the same as joining Fight Club. The only difference is that this Rugby team needs to be talked about and get all the recognition it deserves.
There are several reasons to be excited about this current season, number one being the new leadership. Coach Nate Williams, former player for the Birmingham Vulcans Rugby team, brings a breath of fresh air to the squad. There is a positive hopeful energy at every practice, and I have been impressed with his leadership so far. He is a coach who could step onto the field with the team and be the best player there, and he trains and works with the team as if he is a part of it. Williams was welcomed with open arms by the team and shows them the same respect. The future looks bright as he continues to develop the players who have bought in under his mantra “better never stops.”
The next reason to be excited is the increased funding and strategy from the executive council of the team. From top to bottom they have put in the work to improve the club year after year. New warmups and uniforms have the team looking sharp, thanks to funding from the Alabama Rugby Association. All in all, things are looking up for the team, and a top 20 division 1 ranking bodes well for the coming season. So, for all Alabama die-hards looking to add some excitement to their year, give Alabama rugby your attention and support. I didn’t regret it, and neither will you.
Please consider supporting club sports at the University of Alabama! Below I have linked the rugby team’s social media, and a page listing all the different clubs here at Alabama. For anyone looking to try new things and meet new people, I encourage you to go after your opportunities!
Rugby social media: https://www.instagram.com/alabamamensrugby/?hl=en
Link to The Source, a list of Alabama Student Orgs: https://mysource.ua.edu/organizations
Find out more about the Bama Rugby squad in our latest Mosaic Mic’d Up episode!