By Allison Doucette
Like most people starting college, I came to Bentley to find that nothing was familiar. The only sliver of familiarity was someone a year older than me who had gone to my high school and also attended Bentley. She had told me to come down to her rugby practice just to check it out and I thought to myself, “why not?” I had zero intention of actually playing the sport and, to be honest, I didn’t even know what a rugby ball looked like. When I actually showed up that first day, my perspective changed.
There were other freshman girls just like me who had played sports in high school and wanted to be a part of a team. Also like me, these girls were looking for friends in an unfamiliar place. Knowing this, I decided to stick with this strange sport playing with girls I didn’t know because there really wasn’t anything to lose.
By the end of that first semester freshman year, the team as a whole was pretty defeated. We lost by over 100 points most games and were by all means of the word, terrible. All of this aside though, it was a lot of fun and we had become really good friends so we stuck with the sport. Now, flash forward three years. It is now my senior year and believe me when I say we have come a long way. We only lost one match and won every other one we played in. This led to us to the regional playoffs at Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire where we beat Colgate University and UMASS Dartmouth. This alone was a huge accomplishment for our team and one to be proud of, but we weren’t done.
We traveled to Marietta, Georgia two weeks later for nationals at Life University. Nobody really knew who we were because our team seemed to come out of nowhere among the usual teams who reached the national level each year. Making it this far was unbelievable in itself, but after we won our first match against York College from Pennsylvania, we were ecstatic.
Even though we lost our championship match, nobody was disappointed by what we were able to accomplish. We were able to come back to Bentley with a second place trophy from nationals for a club sport. Not many people take club sports too seriously until they play one and realize the impact it can have. I met my best friends on my rugby team and I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives because we have been through so much together.
I can’t imagine how different my college experience would have been if I had skipped that first practice freshman year, because I believe it has shaped me in more ways than one. Club sports aren’t something to be overlooked, and I would recommend to everyone coming into Bentley to get involved because being able to look back and see how it shaped you is worth every minute of it.