Ruck the VOTE!

"Ruck" is a multitude or a throng. As playoff season is coming to a close and rugby season is winding down the last thing on your mind is probably how you're vote today will impact your playing and the USA Rugby organizations goals for the 2016 Olympics.  Many people in the Chicago area feel that their vote won't matter because it's such a democratic place the odds of a republican winning Illinois are slim. It's not just the national election but also the local people that you are voting for that will impact everything you do and their for  the sport that you love. We as a multitude need to get out and vote for what matters to us.

 

Women's right, gay marriages, freedom to choose as a female what you want to do with your body. I don't want to smear rugby by any means, be we all know gay players who we love and think they have the right to love one another (or at least I hope you all do), and please do not think that I am saying all female rugby players are gay because I know PLENTY of lady ruggers who are far from it. I also know two of my favorite rugby players who got engaged about a year ago now an I cannot wait to be their flower girl and share in a moment they deserve as much as any couple I know. Next, we all have had crazy wild nights at tournaments where if it wasn't for being able to be on the pill you might not be playing any more or for as long as you have. Planned Parenthood helps keep young women from being on welfare with kids they didn't want and cant afford by offering services and medication they need. Not to mention help in cases of rape and times when you body does not function right and with out birth control you'd be in terrible pain monthly, unable to menstruated and other hormonal imbalance problems that birth control can fix. Also if you are a female player or have a girl who you want to play, she should be able to play what she wants and have equal amount of funding for that as any male athlete gets. Women are not "in a binder" and cannot be categorized into one group. We have the right to do as we want and that includes playing rugby which is growing in the NCAA ranks.

We have all experience the personal financial cost of playing rugby on lower and high club levels. Gas prices and green energy are a huge part of this election. Ever game you drive to or practice you may take public transit to or tournament you have to buy a plane ticket to are reliant to the current cost of gas. I know when I first started playing in college the gas split 5 ways wasn't to bad but as going into Women's D1 Club play and realizing how much a flight is to places really impacted my choice on how to get to and from a game and if I would even be able to afford that trip. Our USA Eagles have a lot of out of pocket costs. From boots and gear to travel and food when it comes to purchasing goods made in the USA , particularly rugby goods we know it's not an American manufacturers key market.

 

Along with not being able to get tons of rugby stuff made in the USA foreign affairs are a huge part of teams that want to go on tour. there's nothing quite like traveling over seas whether it be with your club or with the national squad. The last thing you want is to be so excited to go to a new country and be greeted as "Oh you're American. I wouldn't go telling people that's where you're from. Maybe you should say Canada instead." As I've said before where ever I have traveled to that I found other ruggers I was always welcomed, it's the general population of other places that do not like Americans and some for good reasons. We also are trying to build a strong team for 2016 Rio games and walking into a stadium feeling unwelcome would probably suck for our top athletes.

 

Agian top athletes and higher level of play is what will strengthen and make our beloved sport better. Part of colleges recognizing that there are athletes that should be playing this sport in their schools is a huge step forward. However colleges need grants and government money to be able to offer scholarships. Many college athletic funds come from Alumni associations, fees for attending games, and club dues. There are however universities that match club dues thanks to the government funding that they receive. There are athletes that would never have heard of rugby had it not been for the grants that got them into college to being with. The many military teams that I have met at big tournaments, I know they appreciate government funding which has led them to finding the sport. Also as a sport that has a 5% minority basis, it helps rugby stop being seen as a sport that just crazy white people play and opens up scholarship, learning and growing opportunities into one of the largest fraternities in the world, where if it's not for college and education funds they'd never know the sport exists.

 

Job creation is a probably one of the biggest platforms next to health care inthis election and are two of the biggest concerns in the rugby community. Obama care has opened up doors for people to have health insurance many of us are with out, and with out it, we cannot play rugby. We also cannot play rugby with out income to support the travel, our USA Rugby dues, club dues, kit, and the fundraisers we attend to help other clubs out. There's also certifications in coaching and reffing and not to mention the many people at USA Rugby who hold fancy titles, but do not get paid for the work they do on top of what ever their other day job is. USA Rugby CIPP helps cover you injuries in games and sanctioned events because the governing body of the organization understands that most players cannot afford top insurance and an injury can not only ruin your playing career but financially can ruin you. Our county and our sport is in a time of tremendous progress and important changes, so please as you vote to day thing about how the next four years will impact you, the youth of the sport and our country and how we are seen as a nation at the 2016 Olympics.

 

 

Also please vote NO to HJRCA 49

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    Stephanie Esposito

    Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Got hooked on rugby in 2003, played college, CARFU and with Chicago North Shore Women's Club. Love the rugby community, traveling around and being able to find rugby friends where ever I roam.

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