November 22, 2013
In the Limelight
Rugby's Bascio attends Australian academyIn his own opinion, Zach Bascio has never been the biggest rugby player on the field.
"I've been undersized my entire life," he said.
This summer, his stature was put into a whole different perspective when Bascio attended the Queensland Rugby Academy in Australia for three weeks. While there, Bascio played against Australians, as well as players from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
"These guys were huge, they had been bred to play this game since they could walk," he said.
Even though Bascio said he doubted himself at first, he said he found strength in a football player who he has long admired
"I went back to my hotel room that night, and I watched a video of people who have inspired me to rise above that whole idea of being too small, being undersized and specifically a guy that I have always considered an inspiration...Jack Tatum," he said.
Jack Tatum played in the National Football League for ten seasons from 1971-1980 as a member of the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers. Tatum was known as "The Assassin" and Bascio said he sees certain qualities they have in common.
"He was called that because he really did one thing, he hustled, hit hard and didn't back down from anyone," Bascio said.
"I might not be the fastest, I might not be that standout skill player, but I'm going to do what I've done for the almost ten years I've been playing the game. I'm just gonna run, I'm gonna hustle,, gonna hit hard, I'm not going to be afraid of anybody," he continued.
Bascio said he kept this mentality the whole time he was at the academy, and it certainly seemed to work.
Over the course of the three weeks, he worked himself up from the sixth-highest level team to the third- highest level team. For Bascio, the highlight of his time spent at the academy was the week that he earned the Man of the Match award.
"It's a tough thing to earn, playing against the best and playing with some of the best. They said that specific week there was no one that deserved it more because I just stood out...hustle, hard hitting and not backing down. That's what motivated me the most," he said.
While there, Bascio improved both physically and mentally, including the proper way to train. In addition, he also said the team bonding experience was important as well, and he attributes this to the success the Susquehanna men's rugby team has enjoyed since he joined the team.
Originally wanting to attend a bigger college, Bascio quickly realized that Susquehanna would be a great fit for him academically, as well as for rugby.
However, one of the knocks he has had to deal with from people back home is the size of Susquehanna and that was part of the motivation to attend the Queensland Rugby Academy.
"I would get some critique every now and again from people back home, or people I know that go to bigger rugby schools and they would pretty much just label me as "you're a good player but you don't play the best so you're not really proving yourself," and I saw this as an opportunity to prove them wrong," he said. "Also, it's the game that I love."
Bascio first fell in love with rugby when he was going into eighth grade. While he was attending a summer camp, one of the activities the campers could participate in was rugby.
"I remember I loved it," he said.
Not only did he love it, but a coach at the camp noticed his love for the sport and told him to keep at it.
"If this was the sport I was meant to do, then I'm going to give it my all," Bascio said.
Bascio has certainly done that, helping lead the Susquehanna men's rugby team to bigger and better heights.