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November 22, 2013
Vol. 55 No. 11

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Editor learns life lesson in club sport

The analogies between sports and life are numerous and diverse.
The mentalities that athletes develop to sustain the rigors of their training and performance transcend the boundary between their actions on and off the playing field.
The ideals of dedication, teamwork, perseverance, drive, diligence, intensity, focus and sportsmanship are equally applicable to all aspects of life.
I've enjoyed participating in various sports for years, such as basketball, volleyball, field hockey and track. Throughout elementary school, middle school and high school, there was always at least one sport that occupied my attention.
However, when I started college, my involvement in athletics became a low priority. My classes, work, and other clubs and activities took precedence.
This semester, I acted on a whim and decided to join the women's rugby team, a club sport at Susquehanna.
Having never played rugby before, much less even watched a game, I was in entirely new territory. Armed with only a mouth guard and the desire to learn, I showed up to the rugby pitch after my first day of classes not knowing what to expect.
"Rugby is great stress relief." That's what a friend and former Susquehanna rugby player told me when I was considering joining the team.
Recent events, such as my parents' divorce,and its resulting legal complications and family disputes, meant that I had vast amounts of stress I was eager to relieve.
Indeed, playing a sport once again provided the perfect outlet for my troubles. In fact, it let me forget about them entirely for about two hours each day.
In sports, the goal is often simple. The mentality to achieve it is much more complex.
What I found is that rugby mirrored my life in many ways. The outlook that I adopted to endure challenges on the rugby pitch was no different than what I needed to withstand the personal tribulations of my life.
Rugby, much like life, has a way of knocking you on your ass and making it difficult to get back up.
In life, when you encounter a challenge, people often say that you "hit the wall." In rugby, it's similar, except that the wall hits you.
In both, it seems as if there is no way to prevail. Despite your best intent, your efforts have been thwarted.
Therein is one of rugby's many life lessons: persist in the face of resistance and reach your goals by taking things just one step at a time. When you encounter an obstacle, even when it seems insurmountable, keep trekking forward.
In a rugby match, it might seem impossible to cross the entire field, but take it step by step, inch by inch and suddenly, an impossible feat is resolved.
Another life lesson I've learned from rugby is that you won't get far relying solely on yourself. Rugby has emphasized to me the importance of being on a team.
The sport of rugby does not revere individual players. A player, without the support of his or her teammates, will achieve almost nothing on the rugby pitch.
In rugby, your teammates have your back in the most literal sense (or your hip, thigh, arm, shoulder...whatever they can grab.) Your teammates will literally push you forward or hold you up in the face of an obstacle.
Similarly, in life you will find that although you can achieve a little by yourself, you will never fully achieve your goals if you don't have a team supporting you.
Your family and friends, as well as the people and casual acquaintances you encounter on a daily basis, are all members of your team. Do not underestimate the value of their support.
I recognize that the problems in my life will not always be as simple as the ones I encounter on the rugby pitch, but I believe that the basic solutions are the same.
Rally your team and keep fighting.

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