Friday, November 10, 2006

LAU All Stars

This weekend are the LAU Select Side tryouts in my union (EPRU). Details are on the EPRU web site. We've got a new head coach this year, so I'm excited to see what he brings to the program.

Despite the fact that my assistant coach and myself are both heavily involved in All Star activities, it's always a challenge to get our players out. When I was a player, I was never the "amazing athlete". I was the one who trained hard, listened to everything the coach said, and perfected a couple of specialty skills. I played my way up to the Territorial level, and hung onto a spot for several years, but never made it any further. Bottom line - I was just never THAT good.

I suppose that's why it frustrates me so. When I see some of the athletes that are in the collegiate rugby community these days, I'm amazed. There is so much raw talent, athleticism, etc. These young women, athletically, are a whole new breed. It's hard not to watch them and think "wow, if only I had those genetics when I was playing .... " .

I guess the reality is that All Star play isn't for everyone. I've got one truly amazing, gifted player, just born to play rugby, who's repeatedly told me that she just likes playing with her friends. It's taken me a while to accept that, and to "give up" encouraging her to play select sides, but finally i'm realizing that everyone's motivation for playing is different, and that ability and desire are not directly related.

However, I DO have 3 or 4 players who will be trying out, and I'm excited for all of them. Three of them have never tried out for an All Star team before, so I wish them the best of luck! We have over 30 women's college programs in our EPRU, so there could be alot of competition. Last year about 45 players showed up, hopefully there will be alot more this year. I feel pretty confident for them, though - all of them have the skills to compete for a position, so it will be a matter of who does what on that particular day.

IF any other EPRU'ers are reading this,visit the site for tryout info.


Anonymous said...

Excellent topic. I've been battling this for many years at both the LAU and TU level. Besides the athlete's personal motivational aspect, I think we as coaches, all deal with the motivational influences such as parents, spouses, girl/boyfriends, and team coaches who discourage All-Star team participation.

Anonymous said...

I am a player, and on my team we had a very talented young lock/flanker/8 who had already been invited to play at the U19 NASC in Nashville. However, last week, just before going into playoffs, she told our coach that she was quitting - because her father was forbidding her to play -and please not to try to talk her into staying. It's such an unfortunate situation when a parent denies their child the opportunity to play a sport that they love, and for which they could have great opportunities for advancement - possibly even representing their country. My thoughts are that if rugby (and in particular women's rugby) was more publicized and recognized for the amazing sport that it is, then parents would be more apt to support their child's decision to play. As things are - parents (including mine when I first began) literally begged me to quit. Luckily, they are now quite supportive - though everyone (including the girl in this case) is not quite as lucky as me.

K-Train said...

Clearly the politics of young women playing rugby are complicated and that's not in danger of changing anytime soon...

...but I understand the whole issue of talented players not wanting to pursue select side. My best two players aren't trying out this weekend. One has a commiment next weekend but sadly the other player is going to be done with rugby once she's through with college. Which is a shame because she's going to be living in the DC area! She's such a natural talent it drives me crazy and she has a fantastic attitude. Ah well we can only do so much i guess.