Written by: Diogo Mello
What do you call a High school with no cliché football player and cheerleader relationship? Harbord, of course. “For me rugby is an outlet, in more ways than one. Rugby allows me to not only express myself as someone who is very competitive, enjoy spending time with my friends and teammates, but also inadvertently leads to me becoming a better person, by allowing me to emulate some of my more positive character traits, such as leadership, cooperation, and teamwork.” said Peter Alexandropoulos. Rugby was created by William Webb Ellis in 1823, and was introduced to Canada in 1864. The Harbord Rugby team has been divided into seniors and juniors with many familiar faces on the both sides. Speaking to a few of the seniors who have spent their entire high school careers on the team, the answers were unanimous, the bond you build with your team members is one that can live on forever. When asked about the friends they’ve created on the team Basil Butler responded with, “Playing rugby not only with people, but against them you learn something that cannot be expressed in something as simple as a conversation; you learn things about them that they may not know, their strengths and weaknesses and their ability to cooperate, the people I play with are friends I will have for life,” and John Bowley told us, “I know University often splits up high school friends but I would like to stay friends with many of the rugby bros if it’s at all possible.” This bond that teammates share could be psychological in the sense that Rugby is a very physically demanding sport. Players are completely exposed and have practically no protection aside from a mouth guard. Peter A said “Rugby is one of the few sports where the relationship that you share with your teammates is extremely close, almost family-like. This has a lot to do with the fact that on the field, you are in essence, trusting your teammates with your well-being.” With the senior boys I interviewed it was also agreed that “Nomads” was the place to play outside of school. Although it has become the latest trend for men to grow out their hair, it’s almost impossible to miss the length of Amy Chau’s hair. At first glance you might be shocked to see the sight of a female player alongside a scrum of boys. However as it should be engraved in every Harbordite to push the status quo. Although Amy has yet to play an actual game she talks about the sport with a great passion and drive to play. “Rugby is a really fun sport. It involves a lot of quick thinking, dominance, and adrenaline rush. I just really like the fact of being on such an awesome team! Everyone is really nice and funny, same goes for the coaches.” –Amy Chau. When asked if she feels any difference on the field Amy responded with “I feel most different when I can’t change on the field. Like right away. I usually have to leave as soon as possible after changing my shoes so I can go to the girls washroom to change. I’m afraid of the guys, they may seem all jokingly and stuff, but when they’re “in the zone” they can be quite intimidating, lol.” Even though Amy is the only girl on the team she is still welcomed by all and seen as an inspiration to all girls in the same position. I asked her if she believes it would be possible for Harbord one day to have an all female team she replied with “I really hope we do! I think at least fourteen girls need to be interested and truly dedicated if that is going to happen.” An all female team at Harbord could better young women into becoming better people because it was unanimous that each boy gained something from rugby and their answers were incredible and very similar. They all spoke upon becoming better characters and having a phenomenal understanding of community, a connection to the school, all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A place as special as Harbord come to few of us if any of us in a lifetime, were not afraid to push are selves into uncomfortable situations or to admit our “Tiger pride.” With that being said, Welcome to Harbord.