What’s the roughest, toughest sport at Sam Houston State? I’ll tell you.

I have never sat through an entire SHSU football game because I get extremely antsy and bored before the first quarter is even over; however, I am an avid attendee of SHSU rugby games. Rugby is a sport that is not given enough credit or attention at our school and it is my goal to promptly change that unfortunate reality.

Rugby is definitely more hardcore than football. When someone takes a hard hit in football they lay on the ground for 10 minutes while the stands are silent and inevitably some player gets on one knee to pray. Can you say melodramatic? When someone gets hit hard in rugby, who cares? Concussions and bloodstains are a common product of this game. Rugby players would rather bleed to death with bones protruding from their body than leave the field during a game.

Attire is another feature attributing to the badass quality of rugby men and women. Football players have padding out the wazoo, while the gladiators of rugby are equipped with little more than a uniform and cleats.

Also, rugby tests strength and endurance of every player on the field. They play two 40-minute halves and players rarely get rotated. Football players run for a bit, then take a break, then run, then take a break, then get replaced by a second or third string player. How boring. Rugby is constant action, while football is 5 seconds of action, then a 5-minute break, then 5 more seconds of action, then a timeout, and then a 4-minute commercial break.

The overall attitude of rugby is much different than football, which seems to be full of dramatic divas. Rugby is a gentleman’s game. They don’t argue with other players or referees or coaches because they have respect for them. Plus, they can just get revenge on the field. In football, refs are constant victims of verbal and physical abuse/threats, making this sport a shameless and nasty one. Rugby violence is manly and honorable without being downright scurrilous. It’s an eye for an eye-sometimes an ear for an ear-but not vicious or mean, it’s just sport.

The oval ball used in rugby also poses more of a challenge than a football because it’s less predictable in bounce and flight. It tests players’ skills with kicking, catching and chasing it along the ground.

When it comes to camaraderie, rugby is more fraternal. If a player from one team is challenged by anyone, the entire team fights like they’re protecting their wives. These beasts with brains make football players look like marshmallows next to them.

In the end, football is an athletic ballet and while I do appreciate ballet, it’s just not for me. I want to see a thrilling test of character, endurance, skill, strength, teamwork and spirit all in the heroic gladiator setting that is rugby.

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