Club sports are a huge part of student life here at Geneseo, but when it comes to men’s club rugby—also known as the Geneseo Warthogs—it has its own distinct atmosphere. The competitive nature of the sport and the dedication put into it by its players creates the feeling of a varsity sport.
All 50 team members take the games and practices very seriously. Rugby is an uncommon sport in most high schools; many of the players come in without any experience at all. Sophomore Charlie Pederson had never played rugby prior to his first semester of college, but with the support that he had received from the upperclassmen, he was able to pick up the sport quickly.
“On the third day of my college experience, I was here playing rugby. I had wrestled and played football in the past, but I had never touched a rugby ball,” Pederson said. “In the beginning the team would take all the new guys aside, they would teach them how to pass, how to run different plays, what the rules of the game were and just take it step-by-step. They made it very easy by making comparisons to wrestling and football, which many of us new guys had done before. It just made the transition easy.”
Given the team’s club sport status, many may not see it as requiring too much of a time commitment. This, however, is far from the truth—the team practices five days a week. Practices take two hours and at the end of the week, the players all get together to watch films before their next game. Games are usually held on Saturday or Sunday and take up a majority of the day. Schoolwork certainly comes before the sport; the men always make sure to have their work done so that they are available to participate in both games and practices—especially because everyone’s contribution makes a difference. There is a large number of men who go out for the team, so the team is essentially split into two smaller teams: “A-side” and “B-side.” The A-side is similar to a varsity level while the B-side resembles a junior-varsity level.
“People take it very seriously. The goal of many sports is to play at the highest level, so the guys who play on the A-side have to work hard to maintain their spot, while the B-side players are working hard to achieve their own spot on the A-side,” Pederson said. “Competing against other schools is very much as competitive as a varsity sport. We get just as fired up to play against them, we have our rivals and of course other teams who are out to get us. A win for us means just as much emotionally to our team as it does for those who earn a win in the NCAAs.”
The Geneseo Warthogs are one of the most competitive and passionate club sports within our campus and those who may be looking for this intense edge and a new experience should definitely give it a try.