“Rugby is my life, it is the craziest thing. I don’t think I’d be the same student or the same person, friend or even family member if I didn’t have rugby,” said Shelby Ross, senior captain of the womens’ rugby team.
Ross, a double major in international relations and economics with a minor in Spanish, has been participating in this club sport since her freshman year.
“The rugby team contacted me through Facebook when I was coming to Roger Williams University my freshman year,” Ross said. “Back then I was trying out for the softball team, but I decided not to play. So I ended up going to one of the Rugby teams’ practices one day and never looked back.”
Ross was elected captain this year. The title of captain has many meanings to her.
“Captain to me is leadership, its setting an example. But it is also being kind of like a mom. I'm here for any of my teammates. If they need me to take them to the grocery store or if they are having guy or girl problems, or if they just need someone to talk to,” Ross said.
She also addressed what she feels a captain should be and what she is planning to do with her position this season.
“I set the example of what the team should be. It is also my job to teach respect on and off the field. I want these girls to learn what respect is and what it means to be a human being. With being elected captain, I get to show them the ropes of the game. I may lead on the field but I also want to lead them off the field as well,” Ross said.
Ross said she has learned many lessons through playing rugby.
“Rugby has taught me the value of friendship. First off, all of my best friends I have been friends with for all four years and they have all been through rugby. I've learned dedication. Rugby is a mentally and physically draining sport,” Ross said. “It has also taught me time management. We are a club sport but we still get together six days a week just like any other varsity team.”
“I need to respect my team and they need to respect me. Rugby really just teaches a bunch of life lessons within one sport.”
Ross said she also has learned a lot about herself.
“I’ve surprised myself a lot. I have always underestimated myself. I am one of the smaller players on the team, so being able to play the sport has taught me to believe in myself. It has taught me to value my friends and family.”
Ross describes the rugby team as her family away from home.
“The sport has taught me a lot about what I value and care about in life.”
Ross finds the meaning of rugby in her life to be the defining factor of her RWU experience.
"I’ve had a lot of triumphs over injuries and [obstacles] in school, and every time I have been sad or upset I could always turn to rugby and my friends from rugby. The sport has made my Roger Williams career.”