Rugby appeals to Hereford’s gentlemen

Jay Patti

     The sport of Rugby was one of the forms of football being played during the 19th century and has made its way from the United Kingdom to North and South America. Though football remains the dominant contact sport in the United States, Rugby has truly made a name for itself as it exists at the high school, collegiate, and professional level.

     There are two distinct forms of rugby: Rugby Union and Rugby League. The basic rules and concepts of the game remain the same for both types, but there are a few major differences that involve the possession of the ball and the ways of scoring points. In England, the union is generally considered the “establishment,” which is played mostly by members of the middle and upper class. In many cultures, Rugby is a tradition, a pastime that can be compared to Major League Baseball here in the USA. The MIAA is the only organized high school rugby league in the area, but Ag teacher Mr. Chris Davis hopes to bring the sport to Hereford High School this spring.

     Hereford would be the only public school in the state to provide this sport to the students, making it very difficult to put together. There are a few teams represented by the entire county, but none are represented by solely one public school. It has attracted attention from athletes of all sorts, and even non-athletes looking for a cool activity for the spring season. “It’s a fun sport to play and people would be more active than they are now if they joined,” said Tim Platt (9), a current athlete at Hereford. Football is viewed as the true American sport, but is very similar as they both include running, passing, kicking, and most importantly, tackling. Tackling is essential in both sports, even though rugby, uniquely, requires no protective gear at all. On the contrary, Christian Parsons (12) said “Football is for Neanderthals, Rugby is for gentlemen.”

     This sudden emergence of this sport at Hereford may be credited to the success of Towson University, which competes with the best rugby teams throughout the country and has been a regular in the national ranks. The popularity of this sport has made its way down from the collegiate level and has drawn attention from high school players hoping to try something new this spring. “There are enough people interested in playing, but nothing is set in concrete yet,” said Mr. Davis. Students of all sports hope that Rugby will make its way into the sports scene throughout Baltimore County.