Rugby fans rejoice; the sport is on its way to Goshen College’s campus in the form of a club. If you’ve been around for the past several years, you’ve probably noticed a group of muddy students playing rugby in the KMY lawn on Saturday mornings, despite the actions of mother nature.In the past, this has been a small group of students, however the group is now becoming more public. This year, Lydia Kelsey and Austin Reith have decided to make the rugby group an official club, with membership open to anyone. Andrew Moeggenborg is the faculty adviser for this club.
These Saturday meetings began when two former students, Paul Zehr and Ben Ganger, showed interest in some flag football scrimmages. Instead, Moeggenborg offered them a rugby ball. The students began to research the rules of the sport, and since then, pick-up games have been held periodically.
Moeggenborg first discovered his interest for rugby after watching his younger brother participate in high school rugby.
“I just thought it looked like a blast,” he said. Moeggenborg dove into the sport, analyzing videos and reading articles online about the unique sport.
“It has a fascinating history and is just more fun to watch than a lot of other popular sports,” he said.
At this point, Moeggenborg would be happy to referee the games if there are enough players, though he wouldn’t turn down an open spot on a team. He likes the idea of a neutral party making the calls while students are still learning the rules, which is one of the main goals of this club.
“We wanted to start a rugby club to introduce more people to rugby and to give people a chance to learn a new sport and make new friends in the process,” Kelsey said. She and Reith have made the club very accessible, open to novices looking for a new sport as well as experienced rugby players. They are also welcoming members who simply enjoy watching games, both televised and live.
There are many opportunities to attend local games at places like the University of Notre Dame, Bethel College or the Michiana Moose Rugby Club.
The group has some experienced players ready to participate. Kelsey herself has several years of competitive experience. She played her senior year in high school, as well as the following two years with the Sirens, a women’s rugby club based in Chicago.
For those intimidated by rugby’s reputation as a complicated, rough sport, don’t let that stop you from checking the club out. The club plays touch-rugby, which Moeggenborg claims is “a lot of fun and easy to play.” However, if there is enough interest in the club, the leaders would be open to transitioning to a full contact game in a controlled environment.
If interested, the club has an informative Facebook page called, “Goshen Rugby Club.” There you can find pictures and videos of both the Goshen Rugby Club and highlights from matches around the world.