Random Sports Question 'cos I don't know where else it should go

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    Leenna Naidoo
    Participant
    I’ve agreed to write a short story/novella that involves Rugby. Despite being South African, I know little about the game. I’d like to know how you perceive rugby/what you know of it, in particular if you’re American or from a non-Commonwealth country. My focus will be on a player and a teammate, so any conceptions/misconceptions would be useful.
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      Sheena Perry
      Participant
      I’m a bit of an outsider to most sports. Although that may be changing with my second son, who is a lover of all sports. That said, I thought I could share my impression of Rugby as a non-biased individual. I am an american housewife/homemaker, but I have heard of Rugby. Not sure from where. My uneducated opinion is that it is a more violent and possibly more athletic version of American Football. Rugby players also appear to be in better shape physically. American Footballers tend to be a bit tubby looking. It might be there uniforms, but hey. As an author I have researched injuries on several occasions, and Rugby players come up a lot in those searches. Possibly a coincidence. I think that is about all I know on the subject. I hope it helps. I’m very interested in reading the future responses to this question as well.
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        Leenna Naidoo
        Participant

        [email protected]: I’m a bit of an outsider to most sports.

        Me, too!

        I thought I could share my impression of Rugby as a non-biased individual. I am an american housewife/homemaker, but I have heard of Rugby. Not sure from where.

        This is great to know, because as a romance story going into an anthology, it’s meant to appeal all romance writers, and most romance sales come from North American, it appears.

        My uneducated opinion is that it is a more violent and possibly more athletic version of American Football. Rugby players also appear to be in better shape physically. American Footballers tend to be a bit tubby looking. It might be there uniforms, but hey. As an author I have researched injuries on several occasions, and Rugby players come up a lot in those searches. Possibly a coincidence. I think that is about all I know on the subject. I hope it helps. I’m very interested in reading the future responses to this question as well.

        I also had a the perception of it being one of the most violent team-sports out there, but I’m not sure about it being more violent than American Football. But it would appear that AF players have better protection against injuries. My brother tells me that Aussie Football is even more rough being some kind of hybrid of rugby and AF, but I don’t know much about it.

        Thanks so much for your reply, Sherry. It’s a great help. And I’m glad this question is of interest to you as well. It makes me feel less like a sore thumb sticking out. Best of luck with your own research and writing!

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      benjamin
      Participant
      I played rugby in high school and a bit during college (though it was for a city club team, not the university). I’ve also reffed and I wrote my master’s thesis on rugby (connecting it to mass communications), so I like to think I know a thing or two about the sport haha

      I know way more than you need to know, so if you have any specifics you’d like answers to, feel free to ask. I love talking about it 🙂 I’m from Canada (which is where I played in high school), but have lived in the USA since then for college, grad school, and everything else up until now. Allow me to briefly gloss over a few things that come to mind.

      I believe there are more injuries (perhaps more head injuries, in particular) in American football than in rugby. This is due, in part, to the rules of tackling, in which in rugby, the tackler must wrap the defender (or at least try). Meaning, give ’em a big ol’ hug. The goal isn’t to destroy the person (although that does add to the fun, I suppose), but rather to stop their forward momentum. Slamming into their torso isn’t a great way to stop them, but wrapping up their legs is. It’s a different technique than American football, but more effective (from a completely biased point of view, of course).

      One of the things I love most about rugby is the culture attached to it. Traditionally (although this is fading in some countries, i.e. USA and Canada), there is a profound silence in the stadium when kickers line up for their conversion or penalty kick. This is out of respect to the kicker, and fans of both sides adhere to the practice (I haven’t watched too much Southern hemisphere rugby, but in the north–such as the UK–this is more the case). Likewise, there is a certain sportsmanship inherent in the game that is difficult to find elsewhere, except perhaps quidditch and ultimate Frisbee (both of which I have also played. Yes, quidditch is a thing haha). Fans are polite and respect each other and the players. When I played, we would all–our team and the opposing team–gather for food and refreshments after the game, mingling and talking about not just the match, but other things in life. It’s a unique aspect of the sport, one of which I love. Also, when the ref pulls out a red or yellow card, or otherwise gives a player a talking to, the only thing (generally) coming out of the guilty player’s mouth is, “Yes, sir.” No dramatics. It’s wonderful.

      People do tend to think the sport is one of the more violent sports out there, and while it can produce some wonderful injuries, it is relatively safe. Having played as a forward in the second row of the scrum (number 4) and taking part of all the rucks that happen post-tackle, I can attest to the physicality of the game, but generally, there is nothing “violent” that goes on. There is a lot of pushing and grunting and other fierce-sounding noises emanating  from  the players, but the ref is there to, among other things, make sure the game is being played in a safe manner.

      Rugby players are tough as nails. They had to institute rules about head injuries, in that if a player gets a good knock to the noggin, they HAVE to go off to get checked out, just in case there’s a concussion. It is not uncommon for players to play through other injuries, like broken bones or dislocated joints. Often, players will pop their own dislocated shoulder back into place, or wrap up a damage wrist, or whatever, and come back out and finish the game.

      I could go on forever about rugby, but I’ll stop here. If you have any other questions, please ask away. I’ve hit the “notify me” button, so I’ll be alerted to any replies 🙂  Good luck with the story, and let me know how else I can be of service!

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      Leenna Naidoo
      Participant

      [email protected]: …I’ve also reffed and I wrote my master’s thesis on rugby (connecting it to mass communications), so I like to think I know a thing or two about the sport haha

      Wow! I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

      I believe there are more injuries (perhaps more head injuries, in particular) in American football than in rugby. …Slamming into their torso isn’t a great way to stop them, but wrapping up their legs is. It’s a different technique than American football, but more effective (from a completely biased point of view, of course).

      Ah, so the tackle with wrapping up their legs and dragging makes sense, and also explains that odd (and quite funny, I think but that’s just me) dragging someone down like a slowly toppling cake. I see why you say there might be few injuries in rugby than in American Football, less impact to vital organs, right?

      One of the things I love most about rugby is the culture attached to it. Traditionally (although this is fading in some countries, i.e. USA and Canada), there is a profound silence in the stadium when kickers line up for their conversion or penalty kick. 

      I haven’t yet watched a full game on TV, but I do remember some of the footage from the 1995 World Cup, which most South Africans do. I always thought it had to do with it being the nail-biting end to the game or something. This is very interesting information.

      Likewise, there is a certain sportsmanship inherent in the game that is difficult to find elsewhere, except perhaps quidditch and ultimate Frisbee (both of which I have also played. Yes, quidditch is a thing haha).

      Really? Is it like curling, only with more broomsticks (sorry, couldn’t resist).

      Fans are polite and respect each other and the players. When I played, we would all–our team and the opposing team–gather for food and refreshments after the game, mingling and talking about not just the match, but other things in life. It’s a unique aspect of the sport, one of which I love. Also, when the ref pulls out a red or yellow card, or otherwise gives a player a talking to, the only thing (generally) coming out of the guilty player’s mouth is, “Yes, sir.” No dramatics. It’s wonderful.

      Cool! This is also very useful. Is the respect drilled in at practise? Do teammates frown upon a player who doesn’t respect a ref?

      People do tend to think the sport is one of the more violent sports out there, and while it can produce some wonderful injuries, it is relatively safe. Having played as a forward in the second row of the scrum (number 4) …There is a lot of pushing and grunting and other fierce-sounding noises emanating  from  the players, but the ref is there to, among other things, make sure the game is being played in a safe manner.

      That’s reassuring to know.

      Rugby players are tough as nails. …Often, players will pop their own dislocated shoulder back into place, or wrap up a damage wrist, or whatever, and come back out and finish the game.

      This sounds crazy. Why would you keep on playing when you’re injured? Why not substitute?

      I could go on forever about rugby, but I’ll stop here. If you have any other questions, please ask away. I’ve hit the “notify me” button, so I’ll be alerted to any replies 🙂  Good luck with the story, and let me know how else I can be of service!

      This is all excellent, Benjamin, and I really appreciate it. It’s given me much greater insight and lots of ideas to mull.
      And thanks for your generous offer to answer more questions. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take advantage of it now. I’ve recently watched some vids about steroid use in Welsh rugby clubs, and did some research on steroids. I know that it would be illegal for players to use steroids at National level and it’s crazy to think that someone would endanger their physical and mental health just to be on a team. Any thoughts on this? And do you think a player may be tempted or feel pressured to take steroids or other enhancers?

      Thanks again! If I can return the favour, I will 🙂

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        benjamin
        Participant
         

        I believe there are more injuries (perhaps more head injuries, in particular) in American football than in rugby. …Slamming into their torso isn’t a great way to stop them, but wrapping up their legs is. It’s a different technique than American football, but more effective (from a completely biased point of view, of course).

        Ah, so the tackle with wrapping up their legs and dragging makes sense, and also explains that odd (and quite funny, I think but that’s just me) dragging someone down like a slowly toppling cake. I see why you say there might be few injuries in rugby than in American Football, less impact to vital organs, right?

        For one thing, there’s less leading with the head in rugby. American footballers tend to do that, which results in more head/spine injuries. And yes, the slowly toppling cake is pretty much what it is haha The tackler, in rugby, must take care of the tackled player. Meaning, once you tackle, you must bring the player down to the ground. So picking up and throwing a player to the ground is worthy of a yellow or red card (most likely red). The tackler must also ensure that the player being tackled does not get “tipped,” or more  accurately, the player being tackled must not be tipped more than 90° (i.e. can’t become more vertical than horizontal). This is in relation to the head, so if the head/shoulders reach the ground before the back hits, that’s a card.

         

        One of the things I love most about rugby is the culture attached to it. Traditionally (although this is fading in some countries, i.e. USA and Canada), there is a profound silence in the stadium when kickers line up for their conversion or penalty kick. 

        I haven’t yet watched a full game on TV, but I do remember some of the footage from the 1995 World Cup, which most South Africans do. I always thought it had to do with it being the nail-biting end to the game or something. This is very interesting information.

        I’m sure it was partially to do with the tense nature of that final, as well as the other matches haha But yes, a lot of it was most likely due to rugby the culture as well. The movie Invictus, while not about rugby per se, does well at portraying the sport. Speaking of movies, Forever Strong is another good rugby movie. Watered down, of course, as it’s not really about rugby, but there’s lots to be learned from it as well. (I actually met the real coach from the team in Forever Strong. Super nice guy.) Those might be some resources to look into.

         

        Likewise, there is a certain sportsmanship inherent in the game that is difficult to find elsewhere, except perhaps quidditch and ultimate Frisbee (both of which I have also played. Yes, quidditch is a thing haha).

        Really? Is it like curling, only with more broomsticks (sorry, couldn’t resist).

        More brooms? Oh yes. But that’s a story for another time 🙂

         

        Fans are polite and respect each other and the players. When I played, we would all–our team and the opposing team–gather for food and refreshments after the game, mingling and talking about not just the match, but other things in life. It’s a unique aspect of the sport, one of which I love. Also, when the ref pulls out a red or yellow card, or otherwise gives a player a talking to, the only thing (generally) coming out of the guilty player’s mouth is, “Yes, sir.” No dramatics. It’s wonderful.

        Cool! This is also very useful. Is the respect drilled in at practise? Do teammates frown upon a player who doesn’t respect a ref?

        I don’t recall it being something that was drilled into our skulls during practice, but it was something always discussed with new players. We were also reminded of it during games if things started getting a little too heated. And yes, the vast majority of players will not put up with other teammates disrespecting the ref. Along those lines, while it is a very physical game–which can lead to heateed aggression–there’s an air of sportsmanship among players of opposing teams as well. For example, if the whistle blows after a tackle (for whatever reason), it’s common to have the tackling player help up the player he tackled. Respect like that.

         

        Rugby players are tough as nails. …Often, players will pop their own dislocated shoulder back into place, or wrap up a damage wrist, or whatever, and come back out and finish the game.

        This sounds crazy. Why would you keep on playing when you’re injured? Why not substitute?

        That’s a really good question. Each team has a certain number of substitutes that are allowed to sub in each game. While there are exceptions for “blood subs,” subbing off too early will make it so you can’t replace a more tired player near the end of the game for a pair of fresh legs (so to speak). In the case of blood subs, a player is allowed off for ten minutes to take care of any injuries, stop blood, look for concussions, etc., and then be returned to the field of play without it counting as a substitute. However, after 10 minutes, that player is considered out of the match and may no longer be subbed back in. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s a nice little summary 🙂

         

        This is all excellent, Benjamin, and I really appreciate it. It’s given me much greater insight and lots of ideas to mull.
        And thanks for your generous offer to answer more questions. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take advantage of it now. I’ve recently watched some vids about steroid use in Welsh rugby clubs, and did some research on steroids. I know that it would be illegal for players to use steroids at National level and it’s crazy to think that someone would endanger their physical and mental health just to be on a team. Any thoughts on this? And do you think a player may be tempted or feel pressured to take steroids or other enhancers?

         

        I don’t know much about the steroid usage in the Welsh clubs. Unless there’s some sort of “approved list” (which I doubt haha), it would be illegal in all aspects of playing rugby, from youth leagues through international teams. Club rugby in Wales is a big deal, and I wouldn’t think many would want to risk their eligibility–not to mention health, as you mentioned–by using steroids. This goes back to the culture aspect of rugby as well. As the sport is looked upon as a “hooligans game played by gentlemen” (rather than soccer/football, which is a “gentlemen’s game played by hooligans”), the so-dubbed gentlemen (and ladies, of course–women’s rugby is the same in all regards) tend to think of thee game as something to be respected, and doing anything to disrespect the game would be a disgrace. Now, that said, there are obviously those who would rather take the roids and get ahead than worry about disrespecting some non-sentient game. But, going back to the movie Forever Strong, the rugby culture is about respect, and not just to the game, but to yourself, teammates, and others. Steroids obviously goes against that unwritten code. Just my two bits on the matter.

        You mentioned Australian Football in a previous reply, and admittedly, I know quite a bit about that as well haha I’ve never played or reffed or whatever, but I do love watching it, and made it a point to learn as much as I could about it. I still think rugby is more violent in some areas, but the way those Aussies jump on each other’s shoulders to catch a high-flying ball is remarkable, and yes, dangerous 🙂 It’s a lot of fun to watch haha

         

        I hope that helps, and again, do feel free to ask about anything else, whether now or during the writing process.

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      Leenna Naidoo
      Participant
      Awesome! Thanks so, so much Benjamin. You’ve given me so much to process and lots of potential story conflicts to weave in.

      And thanks for being open to more questions on rugby. I may take you up on it later. And for all things quidditch, if ever need 😀

      As for AFL, again, I haven’t watched a game–only watched a little for some research and heard family talk about. But my Perth family are now just a likely to go to an AFL game as to cricket. I’m such a black sheep.

      Thanks again, and have a great weekend!

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      Matt Allen
      Participant
      Hi, I’m from England and have played a fair bit of rugby, so here are a few random thoughts to build on the useful info you’ve already got:-

      • No helmets and padding leads to a different type of game compared to AF. No leading with head, more tackling / grappling compared to big shots.
      • Mostly played on grass, in the winter, so softer pitches and harder to run – also less knee injuries because not played on AstroTurf etc.
      • More flowing game, it doesn’t stop, and many fewer substitutes – therefore more tired players!
      • Only Captains can talk to refs, so respect is high priority.
      • Lots of the players in teams then play with each other at international level – so they know each other well.
      • Always seen in England as the posher gamer, compared to the working class football.   ‘Football is a gentleman’s game played by thugs, rugby is a thugs’ game played by gentlemen.’

      Anything else needed, give me a shout.

      Cheers

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        Leenna Naidoo
        Participant
        Hi Matt

        Thanks for taking the time to reply and adding to my knowledge 🙂

        • Mostly played on grass, in the winter, so softer pitches and harder to run – also less knee injuries because not played on AstroTurf etc.

        • More flowing game, it doesn’t stop, and many fewer substitutes – therefore more tired players!

        • Only Captains can talk to refs, so respect is high priority.

        • Lots of the players in teams then play with each other at international level – so they know each other well.

        Interesting, about the grass and having fewer knee injuries. I know it’s a winter game, but I didn’t think further than that. I’m just realising that it’s a very sociable game off-field.
        Also interesting to know that everyone is likely to know/know of each other. That would make for good point of tension in a story.

        Still haven’t gotten very far with this short story. But I must finish it now!

        Thanks again for your time and input. Much appreciated!

        Leena

         

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