By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /
The Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club held a tournament at Cruiser Dome in Columbus June 18, inviting teams from the Southeast to compete for bragging rights.
The club teams included the Valdosta Rugby Club, the Tallahassee Rugby Club, the Athens Rugby Club, the Augusta Rugby Club, the Columbus Old Boys and the Columbia Rugby Club.
Jack Rosenhammer, Task Force 1-20 and coach for the Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club, said that everyone was welcome to play for the rugby club.
“We call it a rugby club because it’s a club atmosphere. Even if you’re not that good, you can still come out and play … and have a good time.”
The Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club is made up of both civilians and military members.
Genesis Reese, F Company, 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry, is a team member who believes that diversity is key to the rugby club’s greatness.
“We have guys from all over. Some have experience and some have never played before. The bottom line is whoever you are or whereever you’re from, you’re guaranteed to play.”
“If you like contact sports, then this is for you. Rugby gets you into fantastic shape. It’s a tough contact sport but you can’t be afraid to hit somebody and you can’t be afraid to get hit. It’s great fun,” said civilian Blake McVay, member of the Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club.
Practice is held at the Cruiser Dome Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.
“Rugby is known to be a military type of sport,” said treasurer of the Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club Gary Kent. “It teaches you life lessons in conjunction with the military. Camaraderie, respect for one another and things that people take for granted are a few concepts that can be implemented in rugby and military service.”
Brandon Alston, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, believes rugby helps him to relieve stress in a productive and effective way.
“Everyday we run about eight to ten miles a day. Civilians wouldn’t completely understand what we go through on a daily basis. Our work can make us mad sometimes. Sometimes I just need to hit something at the end of the day. Rugby is a good way for us to handle our frustrations.”
“It also builds upon discipline, confidence and motivation,” he added.
Throughout the tournament, Family and service members lined up along the field grilling hot dogs and drinking ice cold beverages in anticipation for their games.
The Tallahassee Rugby Club won the tournament, but there will be other opportunities over the summer for the Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club to take first place.
“There are about four official tournaments that take place across the Southern region. Club teams will enter a qualifier bracket. Depending on how you place during those events, you get a number of points that can put the team in nationals for the Southern region,” said Rosenhammer.
Daniel Brutus, 5th Squadron, 15th Calvary Regiment, provided a short summary of his thoughts on rugby.
“It’s a hooligan’s sport for gentlemen. Come out and have a great time.”