When people ask me if I do any sport and I respond with ‘rugby’, they often look surprised. When I then tell them I’m an ex-gymnast, they proceed to look even more confused.
‘But, why rugby?’ I am often met with. Well, when I came to University I was in the classic position of wanting to try something new. As in, really new. Really different. So rugby it was.
However, as I begin my second year with UYWRUFC, the difference no longer seems quite so stark. The gym full of empowering women now finds itself on a pitch. The bruises from falling off a beam one too many times are now replaced with purple splodges from one too many tackles.
Both gymnastics and rugby require an incredible level of resilience, as well as strength and power. Although the team unit is in a slightly different formation, both sports allow you to embrace the support of your teammates, whilst providing an outlet for excess energy and emotion. There’s still a place for my perfectionist attitude, and I can continue to learn new skills and plays with each new training session. What I suppose I’m trying to say really is that rugby does not conform to the stereotype that I ever thought it would.
So, when you’re next thinking about trying something new, yes, it might seem scary. Yes, you might question your sanity. I mean, how can a gymnast possibly become a rugby player? However, whatever your sport, there will always be a way of transferring your skills, and so many more parallels than you could possibly imagine. I do admit gymnastics will always have a special place in my heart and be a big part of my life. However, rugby now has its own little spot too.