By Caitlin Opperman
Pink taffeta and tackling don’t often go together, but last Saturday’s prom dress rugby tournament, hosted by the Macalester women’s team, boasted plenty of both. The round robin tournament with Luther College and St. Olaf College was a smashing success for the Macalester team, who not only tied St. Olaf 5-5 but beat Luther 15-5 for their first win.”The tournament went great!” Molly McLane ’09 said. “We played together as a team really well and had lots of fun.”The idea for a prom dress rugby tournament was proposed by Mac team member Hannah Johnson ’11. In the days prior to the tournament, the team spent time dress shopping and altering dresses to ensure playability.”Most of our dresses were a lot shorter than they were when we bought them,” McLane said. Though most of the dresses didn’t survive the tournament, they added amusement to the intensity of rugby.”Every few minutes someone would go down and you would hear a tremendous rip; both teams would just laugh,” Christina Fitzsimmons ’11 said. Playing in dresses was a new experience for the team, one full of excitement and challenges.”It was wicked fun to play in prom dresses!” Fitzsimmons said. “On the field, it was a bit challenging sometimes to determine which players belonged to which team, but it was chaotic in a good way.”Teammate Hannah Kinney ’09, who plays the position of hooker, liked the “juxtaposition of rugby and prom dresses.””Rugby often seems not very feminine, but I like the idea of showing that we don’t have to give up the girliness in us that likes pretty pink princess dresses just because we are playing rugby,” she said. “Not that all of us like pretty pink princess dresses, but I still think it’s funny. I’m really glad that we decided to have a prom dress tournament.”The tournament also marked the end of the fall rugby season for the women.”Ending our season with two home games was really great,” Kinney said. “A lot of our friends had never seen us play before and they were able to.”The success of the Macalester women in Saturday’s tournament didn’t come without a season of hard work. After the team was revived three years ago and given club status a year later, participation increased from six players to a record 17 women this fall. “We have a lot more girls this season,” McLane said. “We almost have a full side, which is great.”Nadine Barten, who has coached the women’s team for the past three seasons, described the season as “very progressive.””It was a building season,” Barten said. “We luckily had no major injuries and were able to go from hard losses at the beginning of the season to a great tournament.” “We had a handful of veterans and a good number of rookies, but there was a definite upward trend in our playing,” Fitzsimmons echoed.After an exciting fall season, the team is looking forward to snow rugby and the spring season. “I think this season we really came together and fielded a team of great girls who love rugby and will keep playing,” Kinney said. “But we always need more people, so, please, everyone, come out for rugby in the spring! It’s easy to learn the game and we have a lot of fun.”The question remains, however, “Will prom dress rugby become a Macalester tradition?” Quite possibly.”If we get more players out here, we’ll have more dresses to rip,” Barten said.