The Glove: Success felt, but not seen
By David Glovsky, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Men's rugby at Dartmouth is just too played out. In an effort to step outside the box, my final column of the year will feature the more feminine of the two rugby teams. Women's rugby had a strong season, winning all three games in their preseason trip to Scotland, though the squad returned to the U.S. to lose to the Beantown B-side in Boston. Don't worry Dartmouth ladies, we breed them particularly tough in Eastern Massachusetts. After losing to Army (more on that later), Dartmouth finished third at the Ivy League tournament behind Brown and Yale, and second at the Division-I tournament at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, again behind Yale. However, they earned bragging rights with a 73-0 whitewash of University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire's only other Division-I school, before ending the season with a 66-5 domination of Radcliffe, the Harvard women's rugby team.
The day after beating Radcliffe, women's rugby made up the entirety of New Hampshire's all-star team, winning the New England State Tournament frequented by five of New England's six states (Connecticut did not attend). Filled with three All-Ivy players, one member of the U-23 national team and six attendees at the exclusive Northeastern Rugby Union camp, these girls clearly know their way around a rugby pitch.
In an effort to learn more about women's rugby at Dartmouth, I recent sat down with next year's women's rugby forwards captain and former social chair Emily Luscz '08. Wearing a Dartmouth green St. Andrew University Women's Rugby Club shirt (clearly devoted to the sport), Luscz was kind enough to deal with my ignorance about rugby at Dartmouth. As she put it, "everyone thinks we're beastly athletes, but we really have a soft side." Women's rugby has two captains, a forwards captain and a backs captain, which led me to a question. Is there a rivalry between the two? All Luscz would give me was a general response: "Forwards are the workhorses, but the backs get all the glory." She refused to admit she was bitter, but I could see it in her eyes.
Towards the end of our interview, we were interrupted by Emily's fellow rugby player Olivia Stalcup '10. Stalcup praised her experience with women's rugby, and described it as "like a sorority, but not." Emily then chimed in, saying, "you get to hang out with the sweetest upperclass girls on campus," thus confirming the stereotype that rugby players of all genders engage in epic self-calls. I chose epic because it was a word constantly used by Luscz during our talk, whether it was about the epic training trips women's rugby has taken (two years ago to Wales and England, and this past spring's trip to Scotland), or the epic nature of the 80-minute rugby game.
It appears that most members of the women's rugby team have no real experience with the sport before coming to college, but as the game results indicate, they pick it up pretty quickly. And if nothing else, it's a nice way to get outside, run around and hit people.
Finally, it has been quite the year in Dartmouth sports, with a national championship in skiing, Ivy titles in men and women's hockey and our first homecoming against Holy Cross. But now, I must bid a fond farewell to the only sports columnist to make it through the full academic year, Rob Esposito '07. Esposito debuted in The Dartmouth his sophomore summer with a hard-hitting analysis of Major League Baseball's American League Eastern Division entitled "AL East: Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles all in the hunt." Little did we know back then that this analysis would be parlayed into a column entitled "Walking on Eggshells" and a sense of self-worth that has led to no one being able to talk to Rob about sports lest they want a 10-minute rant about virtually nothing. Rob brought us awards like "Soil of the Weekend," "Straight Up Fool of the Weekend," "Banned Sport of the Weekend" (who can forget the immortal water pong incident of winter term) and "Skid-Ender of the Weekend." Where else could I have gotten the true story about Michael Vick's dogfighting? Or Pride Championship Fighting? So farewell "Walking on Eggshells"; you weren't always memorable, but you were always there. Most of the time.