This month’s blogapalooza challenge is to write about the first time we felt like an adult. Personally, it was probably the first time I was left alone with a set of triplets and another child to watch solo when I was in high school, around sophomore year. Yeah, that happened. It was absolutely terrifying. The second thing that popped into my head was definitely rugby related. I think most people continue to play rugby, because it brings us back to our “best years”. College days, fun road trips, and some of the most amazing people. It lets us stay young and hold on to something great in our lives. The first time I traveled with my Women’s Club, was when I really felt like “Oh, crap! This I guess is how adults do rugby.”
My first traveling trip with Chicago North Shore, was to Southern Illinois for RuggaPalooza. I was super excited to go back and cause some chaos and get in trouble. That was not the first and foremost thought going around practice however. Yes, we were traveling in a theme. We had costumes picked out. Yes, I was excited to see my old college club. The first thing was that NO, we would NOT be going to the bar Friday night to have drinks and mingle. When we got into town, we would get dinner together, go to our hotels and rest up for the next day. This was totally foreign to me as a concept when traveling for a fun social tournament. Now, North Shore parties hard, but playing hard comes first. Something I respect, and love about that team, because having fun is great, but winning and being the life of the party and the right time, rocks even more.
In college, when we traveled, we slept about 10-15 deep per hotel room. Rookies on the floor, under the sink, in the tub, vets sleeping 3-4 in a bed. Ahhh, but ADULT CLUB LIFE, no such thing. Four people per room max. Two sharing a bed, sometimes if there were 3 to a room, someone had their own bed. We woke up early, showered, and ate breakfast, and made sure we had snacks for the sidelines. The morning of games, we did a full warm up. Not a few laps, few passing drills, but a break down from kick off, set pieces, 90% full speed with tackling warm ups. We didn’t have beers on the side line. We stayed hydrated, we took each game as serious as the next. My friends still on the college club team were taken back when I didn’t drink the beer I was offered. When I could only stay for part of their game, and when we were warming up before every game we played. We didn’t steal jerseys, or rugby balls. We didn’t do a power hour or the “Western War Cry”. We played, and played to win.
After the games, we didn’t stay for the keg, we weren’t the first to get to the party. We went back to the hotel, talked about the games. Everyone showered. Everyone showered. Yes, I know I typed that twice. We got dressed up, we went to the party. We partied. We watched rookie lifts, but did not participate. We sang rugby songs. I eventually pulled my usual hoodini moves, never found my way back to the hotel until around 7am when a friend from another team picked me up on a random corner and returned me to my hotel. It was too much adulting for me to not regress some. It was an eye opening trip, and set of games where I learned that you can play seriously and still have fun. You can balance both sides of your life out. You don’t need to be the wildest person in the crowd, and playing to win feels just as good as playing just to have fun. Being an “adult” doesn’t mean you have to give anything up, but you do need to know when to take things serious, and when to let loose. We won the Women’s bracket that year, and that pride was better than any sideline beer.