Sunday, June 13, 2021

Women’s rugby waits out COVID-19

By Channing Prins

SUNY Plattsburgh’s rugby club has been put on the sidelines because of COVID-19 but is still accepting students who want to join and offering as close to a normal experience as possible.

Rugby is considered a high-risk sport because of its constant high contact to other players. Due to this, the women’s and men’s rugby club is not allowed to play or practice this semester.

“I would say out of all the sports, rugby is the most high-risk sport not because of how close we are to each other but how close we get to the other team as well,” said Darcy Doelger, vice president of the women’s rugby team. “So just for everyone to be safe, I think the staff from Plattsburgh and the team just have to go about it the right way.”

So many teams are being put on the back burner because of COVID-19. A lot of sports are not allowed to practice right now.

“Currently the team is not practicing because of all the strict COVID-19 guidelines the school has for high contact sports,” Shannon Tracy, president of the women’s rugby team said. “But hopefully we will be able to have practices soon that don’t involve tackling and stuff like that.”

All college sports are facing the issue of wearing masks while practicing and playing games.

“Besides tackling, we do scrums, so we all basically get into each other’s faces as if close enough to kiss comfortably, you would say,” Doelger said. “So we would definitely have to wear masks if the school allows us to play, which wouldn’t be terrible. It would be an adjustment, but I think if it allows us to play again, I think both men’s and women’s rugby would want to do that.”

Sports during COVID-19 are having to make many adjustments and changes before being allowed to continue playing. This is mainly because the school wants to make sure they are staying safe while playing sports.

“I think that while we are playing in the pandemic, they probably will change some of the rules around but I don’t think that rules of the game will change indefinitely,” Tracy said. “I think they will just make adjustments to the game to make sure it is safer for us to play, but I don’t think these adjustments will stay.”

When thinking about a rugby scrum, they have to be very close. Because of this, there is a new sense of worry or nervousness having to be so close to other people.

“It’s something to think about,” Darcy said. “It’s something that proper wearing of the mask would have to be used.”

They don’t know what the rest of the year will look like with COVID-19, but they are hopeful to be able to resume playing soon.

“I think in the future, I really don’t know if we’ll be playing this year, but if we do, I feel like it’s going to be a lot more strict,” Tracy said. “We are going to probably wear masks when we play and get COVID tested regularly.”

Even though the women’s rugby team isn’t currently playing or practicing, they still encourage women to join.

“I really really want women who come to Plattsburgh to be interested in it and still want to join even if they don’t get the playing experience this year or the semester,” Tracy said. “It’s still a great community to be in. There’s a lot of support and lots of friends.”

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