I don’t remember how I joined the rugby team. I probably met an upperclass woman who told me to come to practice, or I put my name on a signup sheet, or something. I don’t remember.
I wish I did, though, so I could point to that memory and say that it was the best decision I've made at Princeton.
Joining the rugby team changed my life. I am a stronger person, both physically and mentally. I have learned so much from the game and from my teammates, who are among the most diverse, inspiring people I have met on campus. I have learned to love my body through a sport that values all body types. I have made lifelong friends on and off the field. I live with them, I eat with them, I study with them and I play rugby with them.
It’s been a long journey, both physically and metaphorically, since my first days as a freshman, and I’ve been so fortunate to have my teammates with me. We’ve traveled everywhere, including:
All up and down the East Coast
New York, New Haven, Cambridge, Hanover, Philly, Pittsburgh, Charlottesville, you name it. If we can get there on a bus, we'll be there. Our bus rides have been infamous. While some are more tame—people will do their reading, some will sleep, maybe we'll watch a movie—all sorts of shenanigans have happened on the bus rides, including, but not limited to: impromptu dance parties and deep conversations about the meaning of life.
For the past two years, PUWRFC (Princeton University Women's Rugby Football Club) has traveled to California over spring break. Last year, we went to San Francisco, and the year before, San Diego. Now, for those of you who are from California, you might not be so impressed. But after a long chilly winter in New Jersey spent poring over books, the chance to bask in the sun is welcome.
In California, we've played against university teams, club teams, and premier teams. We've visited Chula Vista, where the national rugby team trains (along with many other Olympic teams). We've played rugby and eaten our way through the state.
My freshman year, our team went to London and Cambridge, England, for spring break. We played against two teams, the Cambridge Women's Rugby team and the Thurrock RFC, one of the top teams in England.
In between, we were everywhere from the rivers of Cambridge to the typical London tourist sights.
Now, this probably goes without saying. But the old adage holds true: There's no place like home. Although we've had adventures around the world, every day with the rugby team at Princeton still feels like an adventure. It's crazy to think about all that has happened here. When I arrived, I had no idea what a rugby ball even looked like. A couple weeks ago, a bunch of senior ruggers got together over bubble tea, and we began to reminisce about everything that has happened since. That time a squirrel got into our room sophomore year. Our horrible haircuts over the years. The all-nighters we've pulled to write papers (bad idea). The all-nighters we pulled, just because we loved hanging out with each other (great idea). Even though the mood was nostalgic and bittersweet, I couldn't help but feel happy. After graduating, we may be in different corners of the world, but we'll always have Princeton to come back to. These are women that I'm going to remember when I think about my college experience. When I come back for reunions, these are the women I'm going to be looking for first. It's been a long journey, but it's certainly not over.