Our Rugger Team

Claremont Sports

By Janet Alexander

By Janet Alexander
Unigo Campus Representative at Pitzer College

Just roughly fifty yards north of Pitzer’s campus, for 80 minutes one to two days a week, during at least five months of the school year, a Hooker can be found striking balls in the scrum. And while this may sound like a recently discovered campus scandal, it’s actually one of the fifteen position plays of one of the Claremont College’s least known club sports teams-rugby. The Claremont College’s (Men’s) Rugby Football Club (CCRFC) was founded at Pomona College in 1956, a league which today consists of ten teams of 25-30 players each. As the name suggests, the CCRFC is open to students at all of the Claremont Consortium’s schools.

In addition to its unusual position names (e.g. flyhalf, tighhead, lock), rugby at Pitzer stands out among the league’s teams. It has the same coach for the past thirty years, and every game, won or lost, is followed by a mandatory social. According to sophomore, and rugby veteran Alex Ferre the home team prepares food and drinks to share with their opponent, “as soon as the final whistle blows, kegs are brought out onto the touch line.”. The festivities then continue with rugby songs that range from the traditional, innocuous, “Team Chant,” to the more explicit, “Do Yours Hang Low?”

According to the official CCRFC website, “Such a sport is peopled by rugged, confident individuals.”  Without requiring any protective padding, I’d add either, foolishly brave, mildly insane, numb, or perhaps, all of the above. It should be noted that Ferre characterized the extent of rugby injuries as, “just your typical bumps and bruises.”  Alumni, with whom the team recently played against, and partied with for an annual fundraising game, generally subsidize the team. In fact, little if any institutional attention is given towards the team. Prior to 2006, the CCRFC had won five consecutive league championships, but hasn’t achieved one since. Perhaps, the end of the team’s winning streak marked the beginning of a drastic decline in fan attendance that Ferre has noticed over the past two years, “at most games so far, we’ve been relying on each other for support.”

It is only by the end of our conversation that Ferre notices the foot-long missing portion that must have been ripped off  jersey, to which he chuckles and casually remarks, “cool.” And it is by that point that I realize the kind of resilience and optimism that distinguishes the CCRFC  Men’s Rugby team, with or without fans.