Caleb Pollema–Staff Writer
Rugby is a sport that is unfamiliar for many students at Dordt and across the United States.
The sport’s roots can be traced back to European origins where the sport first surfaced. Rugby is extremely popular across England, Scotland, and France. These countries have professional leagues very similar to the National Football League in the United States except for rugby.
Over the years it has taken root as a popular sport in New Zealand, Canada, and pockets of the United States.
A few Dordt students saw an opportunity to expose the campus to this sport by creating The Rugby Club. Halle Nanninga is the president of Dordt Women’s Rugby. Ronald van Ginkel and Nate Muyskens are the co-presidents of Dordt Men’s Rugby.
The club is a part of the National Small Colleges Rugby Organization (NSCRO). They compete against other schools in the Midwest such as Wayne State, Simpson, University of South Dakota, Augustana University, Northwestern, South Minnesota State University, and South Dakota State University.
Last year, the women’s team finished the season with a 11-1 record, which is a considerable achievement considering that only three girls had ever played the sport on the team prior to last season.
Despite last season’s success, the club has been unable to field a team this year because they were short on numbers. This is especially disappointing to Nanninga who values rugby as a community-oriented sport that values all athletes.
“My personal experience with rugby has led me to become more confident in myself and the gifts God has given me,” Nanninga said. “I have learned to appreciate and value the power and strength that girls are often told to hide.”
The three presidents of the club say that the club is for anyone who would love to learn more about the sport of rugby and try a new sport that pushes them outside of their comfort zone.
“Rugby is an interesting sport,” said Dordt sophomore AJ Bosscher, “I’ve watched some rugby and it seems like it could be fun, but I probably would not play it because I am not near big enough.”
Despite the fear of prospective students, the presidents of the club say that rugby is a sport that needs more heart than athletic or physical ability.
The club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:15 pm on the lawn behind Southview for practice and is always looking for new members.