by Tom Billups
Every day in American sport we are buried with examples of the steady decline of sportsmanship; athletes testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, players blaming everyone but themselves for substandard performances, and coaches behaving badly on the sidelines.
Our sport has a long tradition of being a physically demanding game played by athletes who are “tough but fair”. Unfortunately and all too often, bad rugby behavior, whether by athletes or supporters, is only what is reported. All rugby players, young and old have the opportunity and, I would contend, the responsibility, to reinforce all the aspects of rugby that make our game stand out from the rest.
In rugby, our ethos is to never quit. We don’t taunt the opposition because it isn’t our way. The referee is addressed “sir” or “ma’am”, and nothing else works. Upholding these and others traditions are our inherit responsibilities as rugby men and women.
It does not require that a person aspire to be an international or professional player to honor the game of rugby. You need not come from a rugby playing nation or play for a specific school or club. All that is required for you to honor the game is to;
One last thing, tuck your rugby jersey into your rugby shorts and pull up your rugby socks, it is one of the many ways you can honor the game.
Tom Billups began his rugby career in 1984 and has spent time as a player in New Zealand, the U.S. and England for domestic teams as well as representing the U.S.A. at international tournaments with the Eagles. After hanging up his boots, Billups got into coaching leading the Eagles and now with University of California – Berkeley. Read the entire bio of Tom Billups as well as Billups first column My Rugby Path and then check out what Billups is saying about the game of rugby in The Billups Column on Rugby Rugby.
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