Body Politic — June 28, 2014 1:50 am

An Exercise in Body Image

By , and

Imagine a world in which every college-aged woman comes home from class in the afternoon, looks in the mirror, and thinks to herself “My body looks so strong and beautiful.” The reader will likely recognize how far away this world is from where we are today. 86% of female students surveyed reported the existence of an eating disorder by age 20, and eating disorders claim more lives than any other mental illness in the United States. The main culprit may be what author and speaker Courtney Martin calls the “frightening normalcy of hating your body.” Our society lacks a significant space for body positivity. Fortunately, one area that has the potential to provide this space for young females is women’s athletics—in particular, the sport of rugby.

Bodies 3

Loving Your Body is a Statement

Loving one’s body is an inherently political act. Maintaining pride in having a body that is “too big,” “too small,” or “not ideal” is a political statement against the many voices that tell us our bodies are problematic. Mainstream culture normalizes the flawless bodies that dominate every kind of mass media, sending girls the message that only slender, tall bodies are beautiful. At home, girls are taught to cross their legs in public and take up as little physical space as possible. They are taught that being beautiful is much more valuable than being smart and strong (trying weighing Kim Kardashian’s net worth against that of Condoleezza Rice). Magazines preach the gospel of constant diet and exercise to achieve “bikini bodies” that are meant to lounge poolside and be gazed upon. It is a true testament to the misogyny of our culture that women are encouraged to whittle away their bodies and maintain postures that make them as unobtrusive as possible.

Ultimately, it becomes a woman’s responsibility to ensure that she arrives at this standard of beauty. Stand in the checkout line of any grocery store and you will see a plethora of magazines advertising the message that women are supposed to be in a constant state of self-improvement through beauty products, diets, and exercise. Exercise in particular has now taken its place as a piece of the “sexualization” of women phenomenon. Women are bombarded with the idea that the purpose of exercise is to attain a fit body, rather than to improve athletically.  Workout videos and programs utilize slogans along the lines of, “receive the flat abs you always wanted,” lending essentially zero value to the practicality of strengthening one’s core muscles.

Bodies 1

The Sport of Rugby

Rugby is undoubtedly one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Lasting 80 minutes long with no substitutions, the amount of physical contact an individual on the field might receive makes American football look like a walk in the park. When most Americans think of rugby, they likely conjure up images of the movie Invictus, of people tackling each other with no protective gear of any kind. What is lesser known about rugby is that it is the only sport that has the exact same rules for men as it does for women. The number of players on the field is the same; unlike basketball, the ball size is the same; and unlike lacrosse, the level of contact is the same.

Rugby is a source of empowerment. Women players are taught to use the strength of their bodies in ways they had never even conceived. Where society appreciates the meek timidity that is supposed to accompany female beauty, rugby encourages women to be a dominating presence—fearless in pursuit of her goals. Contrary to the message that girls grow up receiving, rugby has no ideal body type. The ten separate rugby positions provide every kind of physique the opportunity to play a role on the field—tall, short, broad-shouldered, curvy, thick-legged, tiny. Each girl uses her unique strengths to make a significant contribution to the team. Every body type is celebrated and appreciated. There is no such thing as an ideal rugby body.

Bodies 5

It is probable that more than a few girls on our rugby team have struggled with negative body image at some point in their lives. But if you ever had the chance to spend time with our team, you would never know it. We rejoice as a group when a girl proudly declares that she’s gained a few pounds as the result of our weight training. We admire each other’s widening thighs and thickening arms throughout the season. Words cannot adequately describe the liberating feeling that being a part of a team with such body positivity provides. Imagine the relief of taking a breath of fresh air after being drowned for so long in the pressure that society places on women to fit some unrealistic mold. Rugby, and our team in particular, only pressures players to utilize and to be proud of the parts of their bodies that make them unique.

The photo essay that accompanies this article is a testament to the power that a sport like rugby has. It demonstrates that there is the potential out there for women to be proud of their bodies, no matter what. It seeks to infiltrate the media landscape dominated by body negativity by inviting lookers to join us in our celebration of the distinctive beauty of each of our bodies. What you see are girls literally writing the things they love most about a fellow player’s body or personality on that player’s body with sharpie. Although it is extremely difficult to maintain a constant state of positive self-image in our culture, every time a woman celebrates the beauty of her own body or of another woman she is making a political statement. She is saying that she refuses to accept the messages spread by mainstream culture, and she is refusing to accept that her body is only valuable as a visual object.

Photos by Shelby Lin and Lydia Burns

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  • Jordan

    Sports help many people find themselves. Rugby and the rugby culture is especially liberating. Anyone who has lived it understands. Good read thanks for writing.

  • Alex-S

    Just a note; Rugby does allow substitutes as per Law 3 of the IRB rule book.

  • Nikki

    It allows substitutions, but once a player is taken out they cannot return to the field. Unless an injury was the reason then they have a set amt of time to return. It’s not like football where new players come in every play. Every player in rugby has to be in really good shape to last as long as possible and not get hurt.

  • http://celestelecompte.com Celeste LeCompte

    This is a great piece. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am a Radcliffe Rugby alumna, and it was such an important piece of my college experience, for some of the very reasons you describe here. I’m so proud of this community.

  • Chee

    I love this. Thank you so much for wording many of the feelings I’ve had about rugby since I’ve started playing. The support your team has for one another is so great to see, especially with the positive attitudes that seem so present. Live, Love, Ruck.

  • JDW

    Joining the rugby team was the best decision I made in college. Thank you for sharing this.

  • JM

    The 86% of female students statistic is worded in a way that makes it seem as though 86% of the female students surveyed reported the existence of an eating disorder. Instead, it is that of those who have (had) an eating disorder, 86% reported that it began in their 20s.

  • Abbie Kline

    It’s not just any injury. A player sent off to stop free flowing blood may return to play if the blood is controlled. Any other player who leaves the pitch may not return (unless he or she is in the front row of the pack and no suitable front row subs remain other than a player who has come off once one goes down with an injury).

  • Abbie Kline

    It’s not just any injury. A player sent off to stop free flowing blood may return to play if the blood is controlled. Any other player who leaves the pitch may not return (unless he or she is in the front row of the pack and no suitable front row subs remain other than a player who has come off once one goes down with an injury).

  • Abbie Kline

    It’s not just any injury. A player sent off to stop free flowing blood may return to play if the blood is controlled. Any other player who leaves the pitch may not return (unless he or she is in the front row of the pack and no suitable front row subs remain other than a player who has come off once one goes down with an injury).

  • Abbie Kline

    It’s not just any injury. A player sent off to stop free flowing blood may return to play if the blood is controlled. Any other player who leaves the pitch may not return (unless he or she is in the front row of the pack and no suitable front row subs remain other than a player who has come off once one goes down with an injury).

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  • Steve Morris

    They have also instituted a concussion rule allowing 10 minutes to evaluate a player to see if they can pass the test and return to play.

  • DJ

    I played back in the late 70′s and early 80′s. Before is was popular for woman to play. I was one of very few woman that lifted weights to build up their body. I was only 115 lbs and played fly. I had to take some big hits and also hit in return. I enjoyed the sport and also the condition my body was in. Nice article. It’s great to see woman today not be afraid to build up and lookk great.

  • Matt Johnston

    While I fully support the purpose of this article, I would make one minor quibble. Rugby is not the only sport with the same rules for men and women. Soccer, on pretty much every level, from Under 6 rec to the World Cup is played with the same rules for all genders.

    Other than that, great piece.

  • D G

    Acchh! Harvard?! 80 minutes with NO substitutions, please make that “some” substitutions and then I say GREAT article! Rugby women are some of the most awesome people I know, they have a great support system and super high self-esteem!

  • EK

    Are there differences between men’s and women’s ice hockey?

  • TS

    Seriously? Does checking ring a bell?

  • Jim

    We are raised on Rugby in New Zealand. From the age of 5 I remember playing in bare feet on frosty fields in our small town. I started off as a skinny number 8 and loved this position. As I got older, everyone else grew much bigger so I moved into the backs and learned new skills (but still appreciated what I knew about forward play). Keeping fit for rugby makes you a much better player in other sports too. I still have friends that I played with 30 years ago, I know that they ‘understand’ rugby and what it does for the many Kiwis that play it.

    Great read thanks.

  • Denise

    DG Once you are subbed out you cannot go back in and there is a maximum of 7 players per game that can be subbed out.

  • Maxxxx Extreem

    “Laws” of rugby union, not “rules”.

  • Margy Dessypris Thomas

    Substitutions are allowed in rugby, and there are 15 positions on the field.
    Otherwise, I agree. Rugby has empowered me as a woman.

  • Longtime OutdoorActive Athlete

    I played field hockey & laCrosse thru college and can relate to the positive feelings of having an athletic, powerful body regardless of what it looked like. Playing a sport – any sport – that involves a level of physical demand can offer women the feeling of accomplishment which accompanies pushing beyond limits. Title IX was passed over 40 years ago (1972) which opened doors for dramatically increasing women’s participation in sports. One would think that in the past 40 years we would have seen improvements in the battle between body image vs. athletic capability. In the 70s, I recall several teammates — very strong & powerful athletes — who developed eating disorders. Female body image issues and eating disorders existed then and regrettably they still exist over 40 years later. Clearly, women playing sports – whether its rugby, LaCrosse, field hockey, soccer or something else — hasn’t changed that. I fully support many of the premises stated in this article, but I fear it is naive to assume that any one sport will alter some deeply rooted systemic cultural issues. Sports ARE a source of empowerment, but once we leave the playing field and/or graduate into “real life”, we are confronted by the same biases which continue to be perpetuated. We need to look at how we can broaden support beyond the playing field – and how we can alter the dialogue going forward.

  • TMGynyo

    The rules of flat track roller derby are also the same for men and women, and many junior teams in Canada are co-ed.

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  • ironsides

    As a former (male) player and now coach of a high school girls rugby team, I won’t quibble with the substitution issue, or terminology (laws vs rules), or whatever. What I applaud is the recognition of what rugby does for women. At the beginning of every season as we recruit new players, I make the point that there is a role on our team for every body type…. exactly (to me) the main point of this piece. I have coached soccer, hockey, and lacrosse (among other sports) and none of them have the physical demands that rugby has, and none have a role for every body type. (I won’t speak about football for that is a game where only about 15 minutes of action occur and there are so many players on a team…) I have parents tell me that “rugby saved their daughters”, for this sport and its culture is one of inclusion. We see one-time wall flowers blossom as they realize what they can achieve. Getting out there, being knocked down, getting bruised and battered and then getting back up again and into the play instils a level of confidence that carries over into every day life.

  • ironsides

    The point of this article is that there is a role for every body type in rugby, unlike virturally every other sport. The empirical question, then, is whether female rugby players, who have been accepted by the team regardless of body type, experience the same pressures as other athletes. From my experience of coaching high school girls for a number of years, the evidence seems to be that they don’t and that they become comfortable with whom they are….

  • ironsides

    soccer, tiddly winks, badminton, etc have the same rules for men and women…. but comparing them to rugby is ridiculous. Soccer has become a diving competition and players writhe and moan on the field in a way that would make any other self respecting athlete cringe. Soccer is 90 minutes of players pretending to be hurt, while rugby is 80 minutes of players pretending NOT to be….

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  • k

    women also always have to wear a cage on their helmets where men can just wear a visor

  • k

    I completely agree ! on my competitive hockey teams we did not have room for girls who were over weight and could not keep up in the physical abilities. however on my rugby team we had a role for every type of body and no one was put down for not fitting into a certain type, because there isn’t a certain type for rugby.

  • yasser ismail zaky

    yasser

  • Rugby player

    I played rugby and coached high school girls also. No one was ever turned away from our team. I too had mothers and fathers tell me how much they appreciated what rugby did for their girls.

  • Christa Fitz

    As an athlete and a high school teacher, I applaud this article and it’s main point is well taken. The downside of rugby, however, are the inordinate number of head injuries that my students suffer as a result of this sport, not to mention the broken bones and blown out knees. Healthier options, such as swimming and mountain biking might be wiser for those who value their brains.

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  • Kiwi Rugby player

    I understand what you’re saying… however… I doubt with swimming or mountain biking the ethos of rugby would still be there? all shapes and sizes? not many 6ft2, 240lb props I know enjoy mountain biking :-) rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes, but its much more. I’m a 5ft7, 150lb scrumhalf (male) and I when I put my body on the line against some 240lb behemoth, the boys have got my back. I KNOW it. As the smallest guy in my team, its a great feeling getting up from the bottom of a ruck bruised but not broken & knowing you have pulled off a tackle on someone almost twice your size. It does give you strength and belief in your body and mind.

  • Tony

    There are 15 positions, but 10 “different” positions. Prop, lock, flanker, center and wing are all double positions (having two different players with same named positions), so she is technically right, there are 10 positions, 5 of them are doubled up.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • rugby player

    The sports you listed honestly lack exactly what the article just stated. They lack the bonding, support, and teamwork that comes from being one part of a whole. Also, the two sports completely miss the mark on the “every body is the ideal body” idea. In rugby all body types are celebrated and necessary. Swimming and mountain biking are not so. My friends routinely describe people as having “swimmer’s bodies”, and certainly mountain biking discourages larger body types perfect for forward positions in rugby. These sports just can’t compare. I value my brain (I graduated high school with a 4.3 thanks to AP courses, and now have a 3.5 in a rigorous college program) and have been playing rugby for 7 years. I did suffer a concussion in high school. My friend was hospitalized the same year for a concussion far worse than mine she received slipping on a wet floor while cleaning. Short of wrapping yourself in bubble wrap, you’re going to find injury unavoidable in life. Rugby is a completely healthy option mentally and physically, as well as in the way that counts most: emotionally. It changed my body image and confidence immensely and my teammates are the best friends I’ve ever had. I would choose this sport again and again.

  • Wes

    Hi. I come from a rugby obsessed country, South Africa. Even though we got injuries while playing rugby, we hardly ever had a head injury. Are your students being taught proper technique when tackling? I often see pictures of American women playing rugby, they seem to go into the tackle head upright, trying to grab rather than tackle. That will easily lead to a head clash.

    The rule has always been, go low, between hip and knee height. With your shoulder on body and your head next to the body of the attacker. Here is an example.

    http://gfycat.com/ApprehensiveLittleGosling

    The tackle looks tough, but both players wouldn’t have felt a thing, if you play on grass.

    P.S We just had a cyclist killed in our country when he fell off his bike. And my main sport, rock climbing, have several people die every year. So be careful out there with whatever you are doing.

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