Friday, September 23, 2011

Women's Rugby Interviews (Prt i)

Part I of a Series of Interviews with Collegiate Women's Coaches

Shannon Bustillos is the head coach of Marquette University Women's Rugby. She has worked for USA Rugby for a number of years as a Coach Educator and holds an IRB (International rugby Board) Coach Educator Certification. She is one of a small panel of coaches who responded to our inquiries. Her responses are below

How has girls high school rugby changed over the last decade?

“The last decade has been one of tremendous growth for girls rugby. The
opportunities these girls have today were not available or even known ten
years ago. I remember trying out for the National Team and playing in the
old All-Star Championships (ITT’s) back in the late 90's during my collegiate playing days and if I didn't pay my own way to get to these camps or make the effort to be seen, I wasn't going to be seen. Now we have camps and championships for HS Girls all over the country where more sets of eyes can see them, therefore giving them a greater opportunity to play at a higher level.”

“Another huge change is the NUMBER of girls playing the game, which can in
turn, be attributed to the dedicated coaches and supporters who want to see
the game grow for this demographic. When I started playing, I had never
even seen a ball. I now see girls starting their college careers with four
year, or maybe even more, exposure to the sport.”

How has collegiate women's rugby changed over the last decade?

“As far as collegiate women's rugby, I REALLY like what I am seeing as far as where the game is headed. As an employee of both USA Rugby as well as the
International Rugby Board, it is refreshing to see that the game is
beginning to lose the hooligan stereotype and slowly gain respect.
Many parents of the girls we currently coach were in college at their
current daughter's age, and saw the singing and drinking that became the stereotype of our sport. We were not respected, nor was our sport.”

“With us respecting the game for what it is and not succumbing to or
perpetuating that stereotype, we are breaking the "mold" of rugby as these
girls' parents remember and that is important if we want the game to grow
and be respected in the United States. Young adults are becoming more and
more athletic as years go by and if we can harness this growth in a positive
light and promote our sport as one of great athleticism, we will be a power
to contend with worldwide sooner than we think.”

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