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Feature Friday: Junior Ryan Griffin tackles rugby

courtesy of Ryan Griffin

courtesy of Ryan Griffin

Katherine Wiemold

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Most high school guys stick to the traditional sports: basketball, football, or tennis. But junior Ryan Griffin chose a different path to excel in.

Griffin is in his sixth year playing rugby for the Arlington Stallions, a team that places fifth graders to high school seniors into three separate teams established in 2005.

Griffin started out playing football for the Arlington Cowboys, but after finding out about Rugby in sixth grade, he decided to give it a try.

“Rugby is a sport where everybody on the team is needed and has a part to play, there isn’t any sitting off towards the side and being benched which makes it different from a lot of other sports and makes it more fun,” said Griffin.

The sport relies on the team bond as oppose to an individual person. Every player is key in scoring points.

Griffin  appreciates the relationships between the players. “I have made a bunch of friends on the team that I wouldn’t have otherwise if I didn’t join,” Griffin said.

At the beginning of each game the team gets into a circle, huddling together while a person in the middle walks around the inside of the circle yelling out to the team.

The aim is not only to get the entire team pumped for the game but also to intimidate the other team. The Stallions are unique in this practice.

Rugby takes the players safety  seriously. “Since you don’t have pads in rugby, a tackle around the neck and other dangerous play is taken very seriously. Not only would your team get pushed back 10 meters, but the other team would get the ball as well,”  Griffin said.

One of rugby’s biggest claims to fame is a scrum. “A scrum is the giant mass of big guys, called forwards, where the penalty takes place. The team that has not been penalized puts the ball into the scrum hoping to give their team an advantage. The two teams then have to push against each other to win the ball and pass it out to their runners, or backs. One penalty that results in a scrum is a knock on, where one team drops the ball forward out of their hands.

“Once the someone gets the ball, the other team must tackle that person. After someone is tackled, then the opposing team has a chance to step over the tackled player and pick up the ball. The ball carrier’s team must push the opposing players away. This fight over the ball carrier is called a ruck,” Griffin said.

Although Griffin loves playing rugby, he has not decided if he will continue to play the sport in the future. “I will decide in college whether or not I play based on the load of schoolwork I have,” Griffin said.

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Feature Friday: Junior Ryan Griffin tackles rugby