Cougars Not Sitting Idle During Summer Months

Summer is the ultimate intermission for most college students, as preparation for the academic year largely takes a backseat to the average 20-year old’s leisurely priorities – relaxing, beaches, concerts and much summer fun that we will dismiss for now.

Before entering the “real world,” summer is reinforcement to the youthful notion that hard work has its time, and this is not that time. For Cougar Rugby, however, this intermission is not lacking continuity.

Recruiting, weight lifting, conditioning, and, perhaps most notably, early training sessions all contribute to a summer dominated by fun, but speckled with responsibility and progress. The summer training sessions in particular have served as a connection from what was to what will be for the Cougars, as players old and new have come together to develop team chemistry before the student body moves to campus.

Second year player Dave Austin views these sessions as a way to build a sense of collective encouragement, saying, “It brings us closer together as a group because we are having to push each other to be better.” Being a returner, having early contact with upperclassmen and coaches gives young returners like Austin a chance to polish their weaknesses and realize their strengths. Austin states he is working on “kicking, strength training, learning when to offload, learning how to play a ‘fastball’ style of rugby” in hopes of “becoming the leader on the team that I want to be.”

Fortunately, summer programs like SPECTRA have given incoming freshmen the opportunity to participate, as well. Omari Bey, a former football player from Lexington, SC has taken summer practice as a way to insert himself in a grounded social-group, as well as a way to get used to a new sport. “I see the club allowing me to have connections within and outside of the rugby community early on, which I will use throughout college,” says Bey. “These sessions really helped me out learning the mechanics and technicalities of the sport. A lot of it was hands-on, so I think I’m more prepared than someone who is coming to practice for the first time.”

With weeks of practice already under their belt, these young players look to hit the ground running when school-week practices begin August 24. Stay tuned!