Since I was eight years old, I have been playing football. It was my dream to be an N. F. L professional football player, for the Oakland Raiders of course. It wasn’t until college that I started thinking differently about football. I tried out for the team my freshman year, and to say the least, Being a college athlete is not an easy job. That is the problem, football in college seemed to be more of a job than the fun sport I grew up loving.
This year, however, I discovered a sport that I feel fits my life. It is a rough, tough, and physically demanding sport, with an environment that makes me feel right at home.
That sport is known as rugby. Rugby is similar to football, except there are no pads, fewer safety rules and is not massively populated by the media in America like the N. F. L. However, it is a very international sport and along with soccer, rugby is the most-watched sport in the world.
It requires quick thinking, hand-eye coordination, stamina, strength as well as speed. Rugby is often called “the game for animals played by gentlemen. ” The game has evolved into two main forms, rugby union and rugby league, with their own distinct ways to play.
Rugby union is commonly played in Europe especially England, while rugby league is popular in Australia and New Zealand. In Rugby Union there is an assembly of two teams of fifteen players each. There are eight forwards, who mainly obtain possession of the ball, and seven backs who mainly carry and move the ball.
Then to start play, the defensive team kicks the ball to the offensive team. A player runs with the ball until tackled, he may also pass or kick the ball to a teammate but cannot pass the ball forward. When a player is tackled, he must release or pass the ball. If released, the ball is open for anyone to obtain.
Play stops only on a rules violation, two opposing players grabbing the ball (known as a ruck or maul) or the ball going out of bounds. To restart play, teams form their “scrum” after a rules violation, such as a ball dropped forward or a forward pass, or a ruck or maul seizes movement. This is when the forwards on the team lock up in a huddle and contest for the ball by kicking it backwards. The ball is thrown into the scrum by a player on the team that did not commit the violation. Both teams restart play with a line-out if the ball fly’s out of bounds, a line out is when the forwards on each team line up facing each other.
The team that did not knock the ball out throws it back in, and the players contest for possession. A tri scores five points, which is touching the ball to the ground in the goal area. A kick is then attempted through the goalposts for two extra points. Score three points for a goal, kicking the ball through the goalposts while in play. In Rugby League, teams consist of thirteen players each. There are six forwards and seven backs that start play with a kick to the offensive team by the defensive team. The player with the ball then runs with it until tackled, or may pass (not forward) or kick the ball to a teammate.
Play the ball after being tackled by kicking the ball backwards to a teammate. This is the biggest difference in league than from union. Scrums only occur on rules violations, and line-outs are not allowed instead the team surrenders possession if one team is tackled six times before scoring as the other team plays the ball from the spot of the last tackle, then proceeding to score four points for a tri by downing the ball in the goal zone. A conversion kick is then attempted though the goalposts for two extra points or score two points for a penalty kick through the goal posts.
This occurs only after a foul that definitely prevented a tri from scoring. A field goal kick through the goal posts, player must attempt this with a drop kick while the ball is in play for one point. This is my first year playing rugby and these rules seemed to be too much at first. The sport is very new to me. There are many more rules to come. Yet, the elegant but chaotic sport is almost a rebirth for me. The adversity and contact of rugby is a desire that is almost second nature to me. I fulfill the wild “animal” feeling I used to in football. But in the end I am another “gentleman” in the game.
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