Rugby resorts to whoring

By Jamie Macpherson

It’s seven thirty in the morning. A guard unlocks the gate to Shaw Field and turns to the group of women waiting to be let in. “Are you sure you want to be doing this?” He asks again. “What are you doing outside so early in the morning?””Rugby.” they answer.

The women’s rugby team this year may be small, but what they lack in numbers they make up for in spirit. In the world of team sports, however, sometimes that isn’t enough.

“The women we have are incredible,” Head Coach Nadine “Nader” Barten said. “But they can’t take on twice as many [opposing players].”

Fortunately for Macalester, it’s common for small teams to combine with other teams. It’s called whoring. “Whoring is a legitimate rugby term,” Captain Katherine Horstkotte ’10 explained. “There are people who pride themselves in being whores.”

This is good, because that’s been the Scots’ situation all year. “We’re really low in numbers. It’s been a struggle to get people to commit to playing,” She said. “It’s encouraging that our rookies come to practice. It’s discouraging that no one else does.”

The rugby team meets weekday mornings at 7:30 on Shaw Field, where they practice tackling, rucking, and ball handling.
Since she started at Mac two years ago, Coach Nader said her main goal for the team was to gain experienced players.
“[I’d want] to definitely have a full side,” she said. “To have fifteen competitive girls.”

Nader gets around the problems of numbers by mixing the Mac rugby with a team from Wisconsin that she also coaches. Last week, five girls from Mac drove down to River Falls to participate in a tournament there. The five paired up with River Falls to take on St. Olaf, and later everyone participated in a Whore’s Game-a free-for-all where players are divided up randomly to scrimmage against each other.

“It was a real mix of everybody,” Nader said. “They were put in positions they weren’t used to playing. It was a good challenge.”

Ariana Riegle ’11 enjoyed herself. “You go and beat each other up, and then end up hanging out with the other team afterwards.”

Despite the violent reputation, the players maintain that rugby is not a dangerous sport.

“People tell me that because I’m a woman, based on my hips, I’m more [susceptible to] injuring a knee,” Horstkotte said. “And I’m like ‘Hey, I could walk down the street and hurt my knee.’ At least this way I’d get a good story out of it.”

“If you learn the right technique and practice, you don’t get hurt,” Johnson said. “It’s really not as dangerous as you would think.”

Looking ahead, Horstkotte sums up the rugby team’s vision simply: “We’re just looking to give our rookies some playing time and [get games for] the vets to play, and maybe getting people to come watch.”

The women have two more games, Saturday the 12 and the 19, which Horstkotte promises will “be glorious.