I’ve been playing rugby for almost 4 years now. I never played any sports in HS or college, but was recruited at the gym and decided to give it a chance. It was one of the best decisions of my adult life. I’ll admit, I am an okay rugby player not a great one, but not only did I get a chance to learn a new sport I meet many of the most amazing people I have ever encountered. Heck, I met T through rugby and without her being crazy enough to agree to train with me I don’t know if I would have ever switched from half to full marathons.
However, rugby is a dangerous sport: no padding, no helmets, only you and a mouth guard. I’ve had to teach with a black eye before, which is not fun to explain to 10 years olds, and once a grad school professor pulled me aside after class to tell me should would like to take me to the Women’s Center so I could get some help. She looked baffled when I explained to her that I was covered from head to toe in bruises not because I was in an abusive relationship, but because I willing played an abusive sport.
However, lately I have been falling apart. I was knocked out for three months after a game in January with a shoulder injury, and while it probably was an overuse injury and not directly rugby related the final hit happened in a game (collapsed scrum, 800 pounds worth of chicks all on top of my bent backwards shoulder). Then I was working my way back to recovery and two months later at a June tournament in Columbia, SC I landed in a tackle wrong and when I tried to get up I felt extreme pain. I was sure I had pulled my hamstring, but 10 weeks later you all know how this tough lesson is turning out.
So here is the conclusion I have come to: I like rugby, I LOVE running. I feel like I am constantly losing my ability to run due to rugby injuries. Maybe it has just been a string of bad luck, but I just can’t risk it right now. I have two halves this winter and a marathon (which will most likely be pushed back to the spring due to injury). I want to focus on being a better, faster, smarter runner, and rugby is making that hard.
So as much as it pains me I have announced my rugby retirement sabbatical. It was very hard to watch the girls play on Saturday and not jump in (even though my left leg was KILLING ME!). I wanted to be out there with them especially when they were looking for someone to play a position I love, I was so ready to jump in, good thing I didn’t bring any equipment and was in flip-flops. I am not sure if this will be a permanent rugby retirement, but for right now I have to remind myself that while playing rugby is great, running is fabulous! (Plus I will still hang around with all my amazing former teammates so I won’t lose them as friends.)
A tough decision to make, but probably the right one.
Have you ever had to give up playing a sport you enjoyed?
Do you currently play any sports?