Short shorts, a gallon of water and an air of confidence: he must be a rugby player. Even without wearing a jersey, members of the University of Dallas Rugby team can be spotted from across the mall.
How does one dress like a rugby player?
“Show enough skin to get people looking, but not [so] much that it’s scandalous,” said junior John Simpson.
He added that the English of the 1500s were the trendsetters of rugby fashion.
Sophomore Zac Curtis added that hair is an essential part of intimidation.
“Take the USA soccer team for example: there’s a few dudes on there that have massive amounts of really gorgeous-looking hair and you’re like, ‘that guy’s a stud on the field,’ ” said Curtis. “The same goes for rugby, you gotta (sic) have your own unique look that makes you different but at the same time makes you look tougher. The hair says it all.”
What sets rugby players apart is not always the way they dress, but the attitude they adopt from the game.
“As Oscar Wilde put it, ‘Rugby is a barbaric sport played by gentlemen,’ ” said Simpson. “So I would say being a gentleman is the first quality of a rugby player.”
He called the team a fantastic spectacle of masculinity.
“We implement the Catholic tradition of UD into rugby,” Simpson said.
This includes praying the rosary before games and going to first Friday Mass at Cistercian Abbey.
“Everyone that’s involved with the team is so much involved with other aspects of the school as well,” said Curtis. “We have people that work in admissions on the team, we have student government representatives [who] also play on the team.”
This attitude stems more from the people on the team than the game itself, beginning the moment a new player steps onto the pitch.
“I think it’s a culture of respect,” said super-senior Charlie Turner. “The freshmen, when they come in, are all really respectful. The rugby team’s been around for over thirty years, so there’s a lot of tradition that goes into it. When the freshmen come in, they know that.”
“Rugby is not just a regular sport, it’s the way you live, and it becomes part of you,” said freshman Matt Kuehler.
Rugby fosters community beyond the team itself, infusing the campus with school spirit and bringing all kinds of students to watch the game.
“Our games give the school a chance to come together and root for something,” said junior Ed Houser.“We’re very into the community of the school as well. Having a group of guys that are best friends with each other and [have] a presence on campus … It’s a cool dynamic.”
Sophomore Emmanuel Salazar agreed with Houser that rugby brings the school together.
“The culture of rugby is for everyone. You always want to get as many people involved as you can,” Salazar said. “It’s not just about playing, there’s also being a fan, or being a member of the club, like Charlie Dana [who] is our official bagpiper. It’s for everyone.”
Junior Titus Willard agreed, and described rugby as a friendly culture that attracts anyone ready for a good time.
“Often times I hear from fans that they have no idea what goes on in the game but what surprises me almost every single weekend we play at home is that we always get a really good turnout from the same people,” said Willard,with a smile.
If, inspired by the rugby team’s style, the university ever issues a Sports Illustrated, the team is full of front cover candidates. The team’s popular choices include Emmanuel Salazar or a twin issue featuring juniors John and Ed Houser.
Top candidates for the highly coveted, yet still fictitious, swimsuit edition are Simpson and freshman Joe Valentine. Let’s make this happen.
This fall, the rugby team will continue to provide games, aesthetically pleasing hair, and school spirit as its culture and traditions give the campus fun and a touch of class.