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  • The Midnight Library written by Matt Haig
    By: Destiny Breniser   What if you had the chance to live another life instead of the one you are currently living? This story turns the idea of a multiverse on its head centered on what happens when you die.  This book was published in 2020 with its genre being science fiction. The place you go when […]
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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]

Reporter joins the scrum

I stepped onto the rugby field, and was immediately reminded the game speed is much more intense than practice speed.

The action came my way late in the game when a Notre Dame player who resembled a young Adolf Hitler got the ball and headed around the end in my direction. I squared up and close in readying myself for the collision. Just prior to impact, he pitched the ball to his left, switching my focus to the riot forming to my right. Bodies flew through the air, the ball crashed on to the ground after the player whom the pass was intended for was destroyed upon the balls arrival, and several players in a cyclone of orange, brown, blue and gold collided into one another.

Soon the whistle blew, and the hysteria ended, but even now as I look back on that moment 24 hours later, I can still see everything developing around me in slow motion, as if I were in the eye of a havoc-wrecking storm. It did, in fact, give me the perfect look at how chaotic of sport rugby really is.

Over the past week I’ve witnessed a within-the-scenes view of the men’s rugby team, becoming a Bowling Green Falcon for the duration of the week. I became a part of their practices, their lifestyle and their season-ending victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I also learned the valuable lesson that the rugby team is one big fraternity, the field their massive fraternity house.

Coming into the week, my rugby experience consisted of a game I had watched on television when I was 12, and BG’s win over Michigan that I’d covered two weeks before. So upon taking this into account, it’s clear that I had no idea what I could expect.

I was nervous going in, worried about the intensity of a division one program’s practices and games, wondering if I would even be safe throwing myself into the middle of that world. Soon I learned that while practices were a workout and winning was expected, fun was the prevalent virtue of this team.

I heard players echoing the same type of slogan all week, that while some teams preach winning as all that matters, a club sport isn’t worth playing if it isn’t fun. That, I found out, is exactly true, because unlike the varsity sports offered here at the University, the rugby team receives no scholarships, no financial aid and very little funding. This last point became evident when BG players were disappointed with their school after seeing Notre Dame come to town on a luxury tour bus, just one week after they car pooled to New Mexico.

I learned a bit about rugby over the course of the week too. My first two days of practice taught me the basics of rugby; passing, playing defense, learning my position and running plays. I played winger, the only position that could really be taught in three days.

On the third day, I dove into the more technical parts of rugby. For instance, I learned the art of the scrum, the element of a rugby game that sees several players from each team interlocked to form to opposing herds with the objective of driving the other one back. The teams line up across one another, the ball is thrown between them, and one team pushes the other backward until the last man in the pack can get his hands on the ball. The scrum, I realized, is an intense and awkward display of strength, brute force and male bonding.

At the conclusion of the third day, the team sat down on the bleachers, where the seniors gave their speeches. Six graduating seniors delivered emotional speeches that thanked their teammates for the friendships they forged, and for the success they’ve shared. I was once again exposed to the one thing I really took out of the week, which is that these men were far more concerned with enjoying their time spent on the rugby field than they were with winning. Winning as it turns out, was just an added bonus that came around 50 times over the past year.

Saturday came and we drove to the field, four of us rode in the back of a pickup truck. After relaxing in the locker/storage room, we hit the field to warm up. The team was loose, laughing and sure of themselves.

Moments later, the Fighting Irish, already in full uniform, pulled up on their tour bus, soon after sprinting out onto the field and immediately running through precise, robotic drills at the commands of one player. BG, at the other end of the field, continued warming up, still dressed in long john shirts, hooded sweatshirts, while still laughing and having a good time. Anyone foreign to how things work here in BG would have, upon witnessing warm up, expected Notre Dame to destroy the Falcons.

At the beginning of the game, Notre Dame looked as if they felt the same way, intercepting an early pass and taking it in for the score that would put them up 7-0. The reaction on the BG side wasn’t one of nervousness or panic, but simply of minor disappointment, as one players shouted “there goes the shutout.” Despite the early deficit, these men were still positive they would win this game easily.

As the first half progressed, they proved to be dead on. BG converted on five straight scores, going up by 28 before Notre Dame was able to reach the end zone again.

The game, which ended in a 52-17 victory, and Mazzarella being carried off the field in celebration of the conclusion of his stellar career, proved that while BG shows up loose and laughs at everything, it is still the best in the region.

With the game in hand in the second half, I warmed up on the sideline. The action came to a rare stop. Mazzarella turned and said “Jason you’re in.”

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