Men’s rugby club roughs up the competition
It has been said before that players and fans of rugby are more cult-like than those of any other major sport. From the on-the-field trash-talking to beer-drinking and fraternizing that is inevitably linked to the sport’s image, rugby has a subculture all to itself.
Here at Washington University, the “Griffins” have been upholding the proud traditions of their sport for over 30 years.
This year’s Griffin squad features the veteran leadership of Matt Satchwell and Matt Sorem. Their leadership helped WU close out UM-Rolla 32-0 earlier this year. President of the club Max Leinwand explains, “We lost a lot of good guys from last year’s team, but with them went their egos. We had a lot of ego issues last year, which really hampered our side. Without the egos, we obviously play much better as a team. Now, the only real big ego is Matt Satchwell, but most of the guys on the team are used to him by now.”
Leinwand had this to say about the some of the Griffins upcoming matches: “Saturday we play Murray State University in Forest Park at 1 p.m. I don’t feel this way about most of our opponents, but I sincerely hate these guys. Next weekend we have a tournament, Ruggerfest, in which teams from all over the country come and play in St. Louis. On Apr. 13, we play the Sunday Morning Men’s Club, who are a bunch of dirty old men, but they’re a blast to play against. Then we finish up on Apr. 19 with a match at Principia College, who are going to pray that getting medical help was not against their religious beliefs.”
Just like other clubs around the world, the Griffins are steeped in the older rituals of their sport. Senior Freeman Klopott explains one such custom called ‘shooting from the boot.’ “There’s a variety of rugby songs that we all know and pass on to the younger kids. If someone messes up while singing part of the chorus, they have to shoot from the boot. Basically, you fill up someone’s shoe or cleat with beer and drink from it.”
And that’s just off the field. Rookie Ryan Carey says that he is prepared to do a “Zulu” this weekend in the team’s game against McMurray. Zulus are typically preformed after a player scores for the first time and tend to involve circling the goal posts while naked.
The Griffins have a tremendous sense of pride in their team and their sport. Carey continues, “It’s the most fun group I have joined in my four years here at WU because it has the greatest sense of community”
Leinwand reiterated his teammate’s sentiments, “We got a lot of great fellas on our side, and we get to bleed together every weekend. We work so damn hard together that it really gives us a bond. Plus, we get to beat the hell out of other people within a completely legal realm. We’re given 80 minutes every Saturday to take out any aggression we might have in a totally appropriate forum. And there are guys in short shorts. Some of the guys on our team like that…a lot.”
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