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Taking a Look at Club Sports: Women’s Club Rugby

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Taking a Look at Club Sports: Women’s Club Rugby

Pratt played her first game back this semester after two injuries.

Pratt played her first game back this semester after two injuries.

TITO CRESPO/THE OBSERVER

Pratt played her first game back this semester after two injuries.

TITO CRESPO/THE OBSERVER

TITO CRESPO/THE OBSERVER

Pratt played her first game back this semester after two injuries.

By Jeffrey Umbrell, Features Editor

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Fordham Lincoln Center is not a particularly athletic campus. While Fordham is an NCAA Division I school, all of its varsity, club and intramural teams are located at Rose Hill. It can often feel that, at Lincoln Center, sports of any kind are all but nonexistent.

However, Abigail Pratt, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’21, wanted to be both a Lincoln Center student and a collegiate athlete, so she decided to join Fordham’s club rugby team. I sat down with Pratt to discuss her experiences on the team, the community she formed with her fellow athletes and how Lincoln Center students might benefit from getting more involved with Fordham athletics.  

How long have you been on the club rugby team?

I started at the beginning of freshman year. I took a bit of a break because I got badly injured. I tore my meniscus in two places and severely sprained my ACL. But I played my first game back this semester. It was a yearlong gap, but I’ve been a part of the team and have gone to watch the games during that time.

Do you typically play a certain position?

I played fullback during the “fifteen” season, which is when there are 15 people on the field, like “regular rugby.” As fullback, basically when you’re on defense, you’re hanging back quite a bit behind the line of defense so if anyone breaks through, you’re that person who’s going to tackle them before they score. It’s quite fun, and I like it because it’s not necessarily as much tackling all the time.

During “sevens” season, which is what we do in the spring, you just kind of play anywhere. I like playing on the wing or doing what they call a “sweeper.”

What do you like best about being on the team?

Honestly, I think right from the beginning, they’ve been the greatest family. I joined probably the first week I was here at Fordham, so they were my first Fordham family. It’s a great group of girls, a very diverse bunch from all different areas of the school.

How does a club team differ from varsity athletics?

I think, at least with our team, it’s not as structured. I have some friends on collegiate-level athletics, and they practice all the time. They’ve got all their different tournaments that are laid out quite in advance, whereas in club rugby we practice twice a week, we have a captains’ practice and then we have games on Sundays. It’s more of a social thing than an intense sport.

What does your typical week look like in terms of balancing classes, practices and games?

Our practices this semester have been Monday and Wednesday and a captains’ practice on Thursday. Normally it’s a 6:30–8:30 p.m. practice, which means I have to take a 5 p.m. Ram Van because it’s the worst traffic time.

Sundays, which are game days, are always fun, because it means taking the subway at a really early hour. If we’re traveling and leaving at 7 a.m., I have to get the subway to get to Rose Hill at 7 a.m. to then get on the Ram Van to travel wherever we’re going. So if anything, it’s the games that are trickier to get to and that awful Ram Van hour to get up to Rose Hill for night practices, but other than that it’s perfectly manageable.  

Do you wish that the Lincoln Center campus had club sports teams of its own?

It would be fun to have something down here, although for rugby especially, it’s impossible to have in the city. I think having, like, a soccer ball to kick around in some kind of fashion would be fun, but I know that space is impossible to find.

What would you say to a Lincoln Center student who is thinking of joining a club sport, rugby or otherwise?

I think it would be probably one of the best decisions that you could make in college, especially if you want to find a new group of friends. Every time I go to Rose Hill now, either for classes or for other meetings, I know I’ll probably bump into someone that I’ve met through rugby, so it definitely increases your sense of Fordham cross-campus spirit.

I would also say to go to Rose Hill club days. We’re allowed to go to those just as we are here, and find what suits you, because they have a huge range of clubs up there. Just go for it. It might be nerve-wracking at first, but it’s fun. It’s worth it.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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