Blackman Rugby turns struggles to success

Jayen Patel, Reporter

The Blackman Blaze Rugby team is coming off a successful fall season and is looking forward to an amazing spring season. 

The fall season, known as sevens season, was a historic run for the Blaze.  

Led by coach Lawernce Joyce and captain Daniel Bergeron, Blackman made it all the way to the Olympic State Championship Tournament where they represented Rutherford County. Unfortunately, the season ended there for them, but the team and fans were both proud of how far the team had come. After that, the team had one focus: how to get even better for spring season, also known as fifteens season. 

Sevens season is where there are seven men on each side with seven minutes each way, while fifteens season is fifteen men on each side with eighty minutes. Most refer to fifteens as normal rugby because it is much more physical and developed. Sevens is a much faster game, but it is also more exciting.  

Fifteens season has just begun, and both the Blaze and the Lazy Blaze are already hard at work. Both teams have already overcome many struggles at the start of this season. 

The Lazy Blaze had trouble getting enough players on the team. Lots of the girls that played in previous years were unable to play this year because of other responsibilities, so they work to do to be a team. 

“Whenever we first started practicing, there were only three girls out there. I was upset because I was really hoping that there was going to be a girls’ team this year. Now, we have got the roster up to eighteen girls, which makes a team, and I was really happy about it because I finally get to help them grow and understand the sport,says Ava Bowers, junior team manager and former rugby player. 

A struggle for both teams was that they are considered a club sport instead of a school sport. Because they are not a school sport, the team is forced to completely fundraise all the money for the sport completely on their own. 

We don’t have a field that we practice on either; we practice on the side of the west parking lot. A normal rugby field is the same size as a football field, but the practice space we have is only a fourth of that,” said Bowers. 

The teams rose above and began to raise money, and this brought the teams closer together 

“I believe that our cohesiveness and our ability to play off one another comes from the teams’ genuine feeling of family and friendship. We have a great coach that loves us and wants the best for us, and all of us are out there to come together to compete and win. We are all brothers and would do anything for each other. When these bonds are created, I believe that it makes it easier for us to listen and understand each other,” says Hunter Hartquist, junior. 

Some players joined because of their lifelong interest in rugby while others, like Hartquist, were recruited by upperclassmen and tried it and fell in love. Rugby has taught the players of both teams’ life lessons that they will never forget and brought them a new family they could’ve never dreamt of. 

“The thing that I will take away from rugby is how important communication is for anyone to function,” said Hartquist.  

All in all, the Blaze is hard at work for the spring season after a successful fall. This is the final season for the current seniors, so they plan to play their hearts out while grooming the underclassmen to take their spots.