By Casey Pickard
Lewis & Clark’s women’s club rugby team held their annual prom dress rugby game on Saturday, April 7. The team was joined by players from Willamette University and Reed College. Despite rainy conditions, LC rugby participated in a fun and entertaining game.
“Most rugby is in the rain here at Lewis & Clark and Portland in general,” Captain Emma Eikerman ’18 said.
Even though the players competed in high school prom dresses, Claire West ‘19 noted that none of the clothing was sacrificed.
“We got all of our dresses from the (Goodwill) bins,” West said. “There were lots of variations in style and decades of origin.”
“We go and find anything resembling a dress,” Eikerman added. “That way it’s cheap and we don’t ruin our clothing.”
Prom dress rugby is an annual tradition for the women’s rugby club. The event is not exclusive to LC, as college rugby teams across the nation actively take part in the quirky ritual .
“Oftentimes it’s an end of the year thing just because it’s less formal,” Eikerman said. “It’s not super serious, we can have fun with it.”
Isabel Betsill ’20 explained that rugby is a fun and relaxing sport, and the team is always looking forward to hanging out and exercising.
“Really our mentality in all of our games is that we don’t really care about winning,” Betsill said. “We’re mostly just there to have fun and winning is just the cherry on top.”
Betsill also said that although LC students may think that rugby is scary and requires a high commitment, it is actually very empowering and the team is like a family. Moreover, most of the players had not played rugby before joining the team. Betsill herself was a gymnast before attending LC, and Eikerman was a soccer player.
“A lot of people have different sports backgrounds,” West said. “We have a couple basketball players and dancers … one player who just started playing was a horseback rider.”
West said that she appreciates how rugby caters to a wide variety of skill sets and body types.
“There’s a position for everyone,” Dewey ’18 said. “We practice different positions and they’re all completely different. The way you see the game is so different depending on each position.”
Dewey also agreed with teammates that many LC students may perceive rugby as an intense and intimidating sport. However, Dewey is assured that rugby is a social sport more than anything. West also confirmed that no one on the team is looking to get hurt.
“The social part of it is really big,” West said. “We also hang out after each game. There is a social with not only your team but the team you played, and it reinforces the idea of friendly competition.”
Teams may also lend their players to their opposition, which helps broaden a player’s skill range in the sport. This also reduces the risk of injury and disputed referee calls, as players are less likely to be aggressive toward their own teammates.
“If you’re reckless on the field, you’ll hurt people and there will be quick repercussions for that,” West said. “It’s reinforced to be friendly and safe.”
The women’s club rugby team practices twice a week on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. The team is looking for new members to join.