In the past year, the University of Dallas rugby team recognized the importance of creating an official title to represent the growing female influence in the stands. However, a certain mystique surrounds the recent creation of the rugby team’s “mom” position.
According to Patrick Rowles, UD Class of 2013, the position of rugby mom was a long time coming.
“My freshman year, there were several seniors who had girlfriends who made t-shirts with their boyfriends’ names and numbers. That is my first memory of girls closely associated with the rugby team,” said Rowles, who served as president of the club his senior year.
The UD Rugby Football Club also boasts a loyal fan base beyond players’ girlfriends and typical rugby enthusiasts. Elisa Cipollone, UD Class of 2015, became the team’s first official rugby mom last spring. However, while Cipollone was still a dedicated fan, she was not closely associated with the rugby team before her appointment.
“I got the position of rugby mom last year from a few of the senior rugby boys who basically sat me down, explained to me what the position entailed and offered it to me,” Cipollone said. “At first I thought it was a made up thing, but I quickly realized all the responsibilities that came with it.”
“The senior guys on the rugby team really feel as if they have a responsibility to the younger guys to be good examples for them on and off the field, and that’s kind of how I felt about the position of rugby mom,” Cipollone said.
The current rugby mom, senior Elizabeth Schmitz, assumed the position at the end of last year. “At the end of the season, last year’s senior ruggers selected me to be the rugby mother after discretely interviewing a handful of junior girls who they considered for the position,” said Schmitz.
Already, the tradition of rugby mom has a certain expected role to fulfill.
“As rugby mom, my biggest responsibility is to bring my sons orange slices to every home match, which is something they would not dare let me forget,” said Schmitz.
In speaking from her experiences as rugby mom, Cipollone spoke of how the rugby mom serves as a positive influence for the team on and off the field.
“Sometimes I would scold them for saying something disrespectful or not living up to their word. I would bring oranges to the games too, so a little bit of the mom thing, but mostly I just really grew to love every one of those players,” said Cipollone.
While some UD students might wonder why the mom must be a more official position, the role of mom kept evolving last year in order to provide support for the team.
“I think the rugby mom position is extremely important just because the team is such a big group of bros and it is good to have a female influence around,” said Cipollone.
For this fall semester, Schmitz spoke of what she looks forward to with genuine excitement.
“I am excited to get to know the boys better as individuals who I otherwise may not have gotten the chance to know,” said Schmitz. “One perk is having a little army of bodyguards and friends all over campus!”
Schmitz also recognizes the importance of being the team’s number one fan.
“My friends have always said I’ll be that crazy loud soccer-mom one day, but luckily I get to be a rugby mom and be the crazy fan on the bleachers already,” said Schmitz.
Though Schmitz understands the importance of being the team’s biggest supporter during matches, she also recognizes the importance of providing an example and guiding the team, similar to Cipollone.
“I am there to be a friend to the boys and help guide them through situations, fun and hard, through motherly advice,” said Schmitz.
Senior, and current president, Luke Goveas, also sees a great future for a more defined role for the rugby mom.
“I think it’s a good thing. I’d like to see what happens. I’m sure we’ll talk about it and build it into a more defined role,” said Goveas.
The rugby team has created a wonderful, new and quirky UD tradition, which will hopefully persist in the future.
“I really hope it continues because it’s really important for the sport,” said Rowles.
The rugby mom wishes for all loyal UD fans to come out and support her team on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. for the Developmental League Game at Southern Methodist University and on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. for the home opener against Texas Tech University.