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Taking life with a grain of salt

Rugby captain talks about the team’s impact and watching it grow

Arti Taylor

Guest Writer

May 26, 2022

Amid the chaos of the cafeteria, students swarming through the halls, Rey Elliott, a captain of the Westfield girl’s rugby team, sat down to talk about their experiences watching such a small team grow, and to remark on how those experiences will bring them closer to their future.

A few weeks ago, they were enthusiastically recruiting for the rugby team, highlighting their passion for a sport that most people were not even aware existed. Elliott has been a part of this team since their freshman year. After being introduced to the sport by a friend, they fell in love immediately.

“[My friend] was like, ‘come to a practice one day and see what it’s like,’ and so I did! And I loved it,” Elliott said, rather enthusiastically. “I had my parents sign me up as soon as I got home.”

Their first year with the team was challenging, with having to learn how to play a little-known sport from scratch alongside members who have had years of practice, but the experience was not without its fun moments and powerful lessons.

“Whenever you're starting anything, there's always going to be people who know more than you, and so that can be really daunting at first, but it also gave me a lot of respect for the people who knew what they were doing,” Elliott said.

A shortage of new members required the team to merge with Carmel last season, as there were not enough girls on the team to be able to play a full game efficiently. Having to cooperate with another school led to some unique challenges, but it also allowed the girls to gain experience and forge bonds with other teams that had not been possible before.

“I feel like it was really good for our whole team because obviously, we didn’t have enough girls to play 15s last season,” Elliott said. “I feel like it helped us both learn and grow as people at the same time.”

As well as helping them grow mentally and physically, being a team captain has allowed them unique opportunities to gain leadership experience.

“It's given me a chance to see what it's like to be a leader in tense situations like a game can be and, like, chill ones like a practice where you’re having fun,” Elliott said.

After graduating, Elliott plans on joining the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and hopes to take some of the experience gained from their time with the team into their future.

“I’ve always wanted to do something in the military,” Elliott said, “and Hospital Corpsman is an opportunity where I’d get to help people a lot.”

Elliott has hopes for the team to continue to grow in size and spirit after they graduate. A lot of work has been put into the team to assure that the environment within is welcoming and comfortable, as well as hopes for the team to be a comfortable size so that building the team every year is less stressful.

“Right now, we have just enough for our 15s team, and I'd like to see in the future where we have enough girls so we’re never worried about having girls,” Elliott said.

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