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Seasons of Rugby

Rugby is played in seasons, and in Alberta, that means outdoor practice starts in April, and the season wraps in September. Six months is all we get here. I know that there are things done to extend the season – sevens series, CIS season in the fall, and snow sevens are a few of the ways that we try to squeeze as much rugby as possible into the year, but ultimately, rugby is played in seasons.

Rugby has also been played in almost all of the seasons of my life. I’ve been lucky to be involved in the game in many different roles and ways. I started my career in high school, which led me to play other team sports in high school. I’ve played strictly for fun, and I’ve played for competition. I’ve recruited my sister to play with me. I’ve stood pregnant on the sidelines and watched my team win a city championship. I’ve stepped back onto the field within a month of having my daughter. I’ve coached high school, club, and representative teams. I’ve refereed. I’ve held administrative positions. I’ve volunteered in many different capabilities. I’ve been a tournament organizer. I’ve been a mom of rugby players. I’ve been a mom that is also a rugby player. I’ve had my kids on the sidelines cheering me on, but unable to recognize me because of the scrum cap. I’ve played and got really fit, and I’ve played less fit. I’ve been a captain, and I’ve been a manager. I’ve played for two different clubs, and worn many more jerseys than that in the spirit of getting a game going. I’ve played every position in the pack, and everything in the backs except for fullback (I was a wing in grade 10).  I’ve watched the club expand their women’s side to two teams, and I’ve played in years where we couldn’t field a full 15 players for games. I’ve been on tour with the women’s team, as a club, as a coach, with the men’s team. I’ve acted as a trainer for the Pirate teams. I have made my very best friends in this sport, and these friendships have lasted for years, even as our own relationships to rugby have changed. I have covered myself with rugby, in every possible way that I have found.

Over the course of my rugby career, I’ve changed from an awkward, 15-year old high school student to a confident, outgoing 33-year old with two children. And in that time, rugby has always been able to meet my needs, no matter the season of my life.

It fulfilled my need to build confidence when I was shy and awkward and it’s given me a place where I can work on building the confidence of others. You can only win rucks when you are confident.

It fulfilled my need to be a leader in many capacities and this experience has prepared me for the work that I do now. It has also made me a better follower after having had a leadership role, because I have a greater understanding of the demands that leadership places on people.

It fulfilled my need to find something to do with myself that was physical, but also social. It is always there for me, regardless of my current level of fitness, and my teammates are some of the most supportive people around. It’s there, pushing me to do better. It shows my kids that all body types contribute and are valued in this sport.

It has fulfilled my need to stay involved when sidelined by pregnancy, to be involved after I’ve had children, and has given me a place where I can bring the kids and they will be greeted by everyone in the building. It’s a place where my kids feel safe and have fun, knowing that there will be a couple of other kids looking for activity.

It’s allowed me to share something that I love with my kids, and to watch them pick it up with the same joy and abandon that I have. Minis rugby is a great way for kids to experience the game for the first time, instead of waiting until high school.

In all the seasons of my life, rugby has been exactly what I need it to be. Check us out and see what it can be to you.


Women In Sport

This past season, Pirates celebrated the 20th anniversary of the women’s team, with many of the alumni coming out.  It was a really great event that highlighted how much this sport has impacted each of our lives.  More recently, one of our women’s team members, DJTP, threw a party.  While it was tied to a specific life event, it ended up being a party celebrating our female camaraderie.  In honour of International Women’s Day this month (March 8th), we are posting a small, and slightly edited, excerpt from the speech at that party.  It wasn’t just a celebration of that life event, it was a celebration of how sport brings women together and teaches us friendship, strength, and independence while providing a support system when we need it.  Cheers to all the #womeninsport!


What is weird to me is that the only times that a group of women really get together to celebrate another woman’s life is when she is going to become a wife or a mother. Nothing is wrong with either of those things obviously, and they should be celebrated. But I don’t know why we don’t celebrate each others other big moments with actual events, especially since it’s 2017 and not everyone will do either of those things. I’m 100% sure I won’t be having a baby shower and 99% sure a bridal shower is out of the question as well, so that left me feeling like I was never going to get a party where we celebrate an important milestone for me. And I’m sure some of you feel the same way. It’s nice to be the center of attention and have others congratulate you on a big moment. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting that moment once in your life!

I’m so crazy happy that you guys are my friends and that I have such an amazing support system of women. It seems like the world wants us to just hate each other all the time, and I think that’s what keeps us as a gender down instead of backing each other up. We do so much crazy s***. We work in industries we aren’t supposed to, like the oil patch and as managers and in science and math and in trades, and we buy our own houses and dogs and cats BY OURSELVES. We raise our own kids and we travel the world alone or with each other. We unabashedly play and love sports we aren’t supposed to.

I grew up at Pirates and watched a bunch of crazy women beat the s*** out of each other on the pitch, then run along the sidelines in flipflops and sports bras while yelling at the mens team to sort their s***, head back in to this building and slam a beer and then head home to careers and homes and families and kill it in life. Those were the women I grew up watching, and they obviously had an impact on me in a big and great way. My goal was just to be one of those chicks.

For those of you who are having kids, please do and have a bunch, cause this group is who needs to be raising the next generation. And I have no doubt that your daughters will turn out to be badasses, cause they’ll be watching us on the pitch swearing and boozing and crushing life and know that they can do the same. But really, teach your sons and nephews and godchildren that the women who don’t need them are the women they want and that those women are desirable. Cause then we’ll have a generation of men who think equality is normal and holy f***, do we ever need that.

Cause the more we can see each other achieve, the more we know we can do the same. And then we can pass that on to those little girls on the sidelines watching us that it’s normal and good that you can have female friends who matter as much or more than husbands and boyfriends.

Hoping to see some new ladies out on the pitch this season!