“If you are too afraid to get hit, lose a tooth, or break a bone, it’s not for you,” said Katlyn Duncan, a new member of the Fort Bragg Women’s Rugby Team. She does not hesitate to take a hit.
Duncan compares rugby to American football but appreciates rugby because of its tough reputation and lack of equipment.
“It’s a lot rougher than regular football, that’s what makes it cool. There are no helmets and no padding,” said Duncan.
Duncan decided to join the team because of her passion for football, but she was surprised to gain so much more than just an extracurricular activity.
She said she learned to maintain her determination by playing on the team. “Rugby has taught me not to doubt myself,” said Duncan. She said that when playing, you cannot hesitate and that persistence is the key to the sport.
Duncan found the lessons she learned on the field translated to her personal and professional life.
Duncan is a freshman art major with a concentration in digital design at Fayetteville State University. She said she is persistent with her goals and pushes herself to be successful in her academic career because of the determination the rugby team has taught her.
Duncan balances being a full-time student with part-time employment at a local grocery store and said rugby provides her with an outlet to work through the stress of managing her obligations.
“If I get frustrated at school or work, I go to rugby practice and blow off steam,” said Duncan, “It’s something that keeps me motivated.”
Team unity and the social aspect is another benefit Duncan discovered.
“They have cookouts and it’s like a big Family get-together,” said Duncan. She said her teammates offer her support and inspiration.
The team is seeking new members and is open to women 15 years and older, and no military affiliation is required, said Josephine Ladnier, an Army Captain and coach of the Fort Bragg Women’s Rugby club.
Duncan encourages others to give rugby a shot and not be intimidated by the toughness of the sport.
“People should try to at least come out to a practice,” said Duncan. “Try something different, test your boundaries and push yourself out of your norm.
“You get to know great people, get a good workout and blow off some steam,” said Duncan.
“If you are scared, go to a practice and after practice make a decision,” she said. “I was scared at first, but after I went to my first practice I was hooked.”
While Duncan may have been reluctant at first, she now values all she has gained since joining the team and says she is looking forward to her first season.