Gay rugby is getting hot in America
March 28, 2007
Imagine big dirty muscley guys running up and down a field wearing short shorts tackling each other in big piles all fighting over a ball. No this is not the latest Colt movie, it is the sport of Rugby which is quickly spreading its way into America from European countries, where the sport originated. But the popularity of the sport is not just spreading from country to county it is also forming roots in different communities and the gay community is not one to be left behind. The aggressive sport has become a mainstay in the gay sporting world and the organizations, teams and gay athletes involved are making their mark.
Rugby is descended from a common form of football developed at Rugby School in England in the early 1800's. Many credit William Webb Ellis with the inception of the sport who while a student at Rugby picked up the ball and ran with it during a traditional football game. Others say the sport has its roots from the Celtic game Caid, which translated, ironically means the "scotum of the bull".
Either way, the sport was extremely popular in Europe and was even an event at early summer Olympic Games until rivalries and controversies caused the sport to be pulled from the rosters. The contoversial and dirty nature of the sport lends itself to its rebel reputation.
That reputation may be one of the appealing features that drew the gay community to the sport. In 2002, a group of competitive gay and bisexual rugby teams began to organize and formed the International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB) to act as the governing body for the group. This umbrella organization, which is based in London, is dedicated to encouraging lesbians and gay men everywhere to play rugby.
The organization established the first ever gay World Rugby Championships which become known as the Bingham Cup. The cup is named after a member of the San Francisco Fog player, Mark Bingham who was one of the men who stormed the cockpit of United 93 against the terrorists during the 9/11 attacks. Bingham was a rugger for UC Berkley before joining the successful gay team the San Francisco Fog. The Fog quickly became one of the American leaders in the sport and the myriad of clubs began to spring up all over the United States. Outsports.com has even named the Fog as one of the top gay sports teams.
While the sport began to grow in America, across the ocean gay ruggers where also growing in popularity. The Manchester Village Spartans and the King Cross Steelers both based in England became more popular by making their presence known at fundraising events and pride festivals.
Not to be out done by their male counterparts, women's groups also started popping up, and in 2006 the Bingham Cup added a women's division to the competition. The New York Rugby Club and the Washington Furies lead the way for the American women at the event.
Women and women's teams have played instrumental roles influencing, supporting, and helping direct the development of the sport within the gay community. The Portland Avalanche, Atlanta Bucks, and San Diego Armada, and the Gotham Knights have all had female coaches and women's teams have been very supportive of the IGRAB. The New York Rugby club appropriately named " The I love Kuch" took home top honors at the 2006 event and the women's division will be back in full force for the 2008 championship which was recently announced will take place in Dublin Ireland.
Rugby is a hot sport right now both on and off the field. The French National Rugby team has published several extremely successful calendars and videotapes of its members to raise money for the sport. The sexual images of the Dieux Du Stade are practically soft gay erotica and have inspired many a young man to appreciate the sport even if they are not actually playing it.
Along with the obvious sex appeal there are a ton of reasons behind the success of the sport including the spirit of togetherness and friendship that is fostered by participating in such a close nit community. It is a physically and mentally challenging sport that demands high levels of performance and can often even be painful. Bruises, broken noses and other minor injuries are an unavoidable part of the game, but for these rugged players that is all part of the allure.
Even if you are not ready to add yourself to that big man (or woman) pile, you can still definitely appreciate the athleticism, excitement, and of course the great bodies that are associated with the sport of rugby. – Issued by Gay Link Content
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