Recently, rugby has been added to the list of spring sports. Players are ecstatic about the new team and prepare for the upcoming season.
Unfortunately for the Nathan Hale players, a recent decision de-authorized the team, due to liability reasons. This leaves the Hale rugby team as an independent club sport sanctioned under the RugbyWA organization. Sports such as lacrosse have also experienced this deauthorization.
The team also holds a lower priority in field scheduling compared to other athletics programs, and they are not permitted to use “Nathan Hale” in their team name.
Efforts to sanction rugby into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, WIAA, have been made, but The National Federation of High school Sports, NFHS, has not yet sanctioned it.
Rugby started out in Europe but is gaining more popularity worldwide. In rugby, two teams play with an oblong ball that can be kicked, carried, or passed backwards. Points are scored by either grounding the ball behind the opponent’s goal line or kicking the ball over the crossbars or in between the two posts of the opponents goal.
“There’s much more to rugby than backward passing and hard hits,” said freshman rugby player Chris Coon.
A complex set of rules help protect the players from injury and create a safer playing environment.
“There’s no need for padding because in rugby people know how to tackle safely,” said Jacob Isaac, a Raider rugby player.
Sports that are highly disputed, like lacrosse, have been added to the NFHS but still await a decision which will determine whether or not they will be added to the WIAA.
Yet another issue is that under Title IV any given sport must be available for both boys and girls.
In the midst of this dispute, questions about rugby’s close relation to football surfaced. While concussions are a serious issue for football players, rugby has preventative measures already in place.
In rugby, contact rules center around a wrap tackle, where, in order to tackle, the tackler must wrap his arms around an opponent and bring them to the ground. These tackles are allowed on the body, ankles, and knees, but not on the neck or head.
The Seattle Seahawks have adopted this method of tackling.
“I’m going to teach this tackling and I’m going to sell it as a safer and more effective way,” Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said.
As for Hale’s rugby team, they are still preparing for their upcoming season. They play in a small league funded by the Seattle Vikings Rugby Club consisting of Roosevelt, Shorecrest, and Blanchet High School.
Practice takes place with the Vikings at Magnuson on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4:00 to 6:30