Rugby is a sport played all over the world. It appears in a variety of cultures and regions.
Despite its global association and common theme, rugby has struggled to gain ground in the United States. However, that is on the cusp of change.
RUGBY IS CULTURALLY FLUID
Rugby is a cherished tradition in some countries. Similar to soccer and wrestling, it is played the same around the globe. In many countries, it’s considered to be as big as American football is in the U.S. Many athletes and coaches travel around playing for different leagues and teams. This generates a high percentage of cross-cultural athletes and faculty.
The New Zealand national rugby team’s Haka dance has become a global phenomenon. Originating from Måori culture, it’s a well-known tradition in the rugby world and even was performed at the 2014 Summer Olympics by New Zealand’s basketball team.
WHAT DOES RUGBY LOOK LIKE IN THE U.S.?
Though Major League Rugby is a relatively small league in comparison to others, it’s effective. Integrating a multicultural sport and introducing cross-cultural players to a U.S. city is the main attraction. Yet, it’s difficult to gain ground in the college atmosphere.
THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL
Ethan Waite is a college rugby player for the Colorado State University Rams Men’s team. He loves not only playing the sport but observing and learning as well. Due to the sport being a worldwide entity, it commonly occurs year round. Therefore, there is always some kind of action around rugby. Yet, the NCAA declares rugby as an “emerging sport” in their catalog of sports.
Rugby has given me a chance to grow unlike any other sport. Through the vastly different people and traditions, I’ve learned about different experiences.Ethan Waite
For the time being, at the college level rugby is considered a club sport. That means that athletes must pay a fee in order to participate. With the growing popularity and cultural fluidity of the game, within a few years the college level should become part of the mainstream with athletic programs.
GROWING IN POPULARITY
According to Nielsen research, rugby is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. as of 2019. Though the biggest growth can be seen in the U.S. population through immigrants who played the sport in their home countries, it’s also growing around the world. The number of rugby fans across the planet increased by 18% in just a quick, two-year time frame.
Rugby is growing with many different cultures integrating and adopting the sport.