Women’s rugby tackles stereotypes

The Student Government Association has officially approved the Women’s Rugby club.

After receiving the good news, the club held practice last Thursday, continuing in their rhythm of hard work and dedication towards their newfound passion.

“We can’t say enough about the coaches…about the community and how much we love rugby,” Madison Pfrimmer, who plays flank, said. “I want other people to feel this sort of joy that I feel.”

Talking alongside Pfrimmer were hook Rebecca Baugher and fullback Kailin Salman. Each one raved about how their lives have benefited from the sport and the positive environment they find on the team because of the relationships they have carried into friendships off the pitch.

“We want people to know the community that we found because we want everyone to experience the same,” Baugher said.

Baugher came to the University as a transfer from Southwest Baptist University in Missouri.

“I came from a school I really loved and I was really apprehensive about coming to JBU,” she said. “Rugby has given me a community and a support system not just on the field but academically, socially and emotionally. I don’t know where I would be emotionally without Rugby.”

A common theme that has developed on the team is the value and appreciation for each player’s unique body shape and size.

“When we come together, every person has a different purpose,” Salman said.

With heights ranging for 4’8 to 6’2, “There is a place for every body type on the field,” Baugher said. “There is not one body type. There are literally 15 different body types,” she said in reference to the amount of players on the pitch at one time.

Many of the players spoke with admiration of coach Jarrod Heathcoate’s efforts to inspire the women to accept their physical differences.

As opposed to working-out for individual gain, Heathcoate encourages the perspective that “you have to workout so you can do these things for your team,” Pfrimmer said.

Unlike exercising for individual purposes, Baugher explained how she enjoys working out for her team more.

“I’m working out these legs, and these legs are going to push us forward,” she said.

The hard work of Heathcoate and Ryan Cowell, alumnus rugby player, were both acknowledged as the girls bragged about how supportive both are of the players. Pfrimmer mentioned how observant and aware both are of the girls’ individual needs on and off the pitch to provide them with help and support that are needed in such a physical sport.

“Coach lets us fight through stereotypes and tells us to wear our bruises proud,” Salman said. “It’s cool to get encouraged like that.”

As the women exchanged showing off their bruises and battle scars, which Salman said come with hard work, their bond, support and the true enjoyment of one another were obvious.

The women were also excited to announce three new players they received at practice last week. They thoroughly support any new people who wish to join the team because, as Baugher said, “It’s a very fluid group of people.”

The official JBU Women’s Rugby Club will continue to practice in preparation for their upcoming game on Oct. 24. They will play against Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.