COVID-19 changed many aspects of life and sports was no exception.
Back in March and through April, athletic events and seasons were cancelled or postponed. Nearly a year later, some teams haven’t had the opportunity to play since then.
At Pittsburg State, one such team is the men’s ruby team.
No rugby matches have been scheduled as of yet, but the club has plans to play sometime in March or April.
According to Owen Gray, junior in history/government and president of men’s rugby, the men’s rugby club has yet to start practicing for the season, due to COVID-19 requirements, but they are “hopeful” to begin soon.
Scheduling matches against other universities and teams can be complicated right now due to different restrictions and guidelines because of COVID-19.
“The first goal, of course, is to have a season,” Gray said. “After that it (our goal) becomes teaching the new guys and having a successful 7s season with a run at the conference tournament.”
Despite not practicing or playing right now, the men’s rugby club has been working on strategies and techniques that will help them when they do begin practicing and playing.
“I am hoping to see a lot of improvement from our newer players,” Gray said. “We are installing a new attacking system and I am excited to see our new and experienced guys take it and run with it.”
Many sports have taken to restricting fan attendance at games and matches to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“The biggest difference in the games will be our crowd sizes,” Gray said. “We have a lot of very loyal alumni who love to come back to see us play and it will definitely be very different to play without them there.”
Gray in particular is looking forward to seeing the team in action.
“I am really looking forward to this fall and our upcoming 15s season,” Gray said. “With the young talent we have I think we have a good shot to not only win our conference, but to make a push at Nationals as well.”
The men’s rugby had to cancel previously scheduled games when COVID-19 hit hard back in March. Not being able to play or even practice since then, “hasn’t been great” Gray said.
“…For a lot of our guys, myself included, this team has become an outlet for the sports we lost after high school,” Gray said. “So, to not be able to play this game has been difficult.”
To reach out to the men’s rugby club, students can contact them through Facebook or at the Student Recreation Center.
“We are always welcome to new players,” Gray said. “Everyone is welcome, with no experience required. A lot of our team joined with no experience and were taught on the fly. If you are looking for a… (tightknit) group or a way to stay active, rugby is the place for you.”