Rugby is a grueling sport that demands the athlete to be strong, smart, fast and physically fit. One must be able to break tackles, make tackles, sprint and think throughout an entire 80 minute period. Now, what do you think determines how good someone is at the game? Their ability to perform in the 70th minute as if it was the 10th minute? Their ability to read the defense and find the open space/man? Their ability to play well on both sides of the ball, which requires them to make hits and drop dimes? While all of these factors play a role, success on the pitch comes down to one simple line: “Look good, play good“. What better way to illustrate this point than to break down my own appearance? So, for the sake of science, I’m willing to put myself out there and prove it’s all about the look. Let’s break this down.
Cleats: My first pair of cleats? Football cleats. Total rookie mistake. It’s similar to running with two cement blocks tied to your feet. Those cleats are probably the sole reason I’m running perpendicular to the field (for those who don’t know, your suppose to run straight up and down the field). Just no control over my own two feet. Luckily the kid behind me was wearing the same cleats and I was just a superior athlete. Now, were they great for ankle support? You bet your sweet ass they were. However, two bad ankles is just the price you have to pay to look good.
Compression Shorts: I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, this is tough for me to look at. Just the definition of insecurity. Nothing more than a 15 yr old pale, Irish squid afraid to show a little leg.Terrible. Rugby is played with short-shorts for a reason. Show off those tree trunks baby! Also, in rugby, it’s crucial to keep your hips square. That way you keep the defender on his toes and make him commit to you. Once he commits, you can dish the ball to a teammate running on to it or you can just run the defender over. Dealer’s choice. But as you can see from the above picture, my hips are completely open and everyone who was at that game knew I was going to pass. Its simple arithmetic: Long compression shorts=telegraphing every move. To all new rugby players, be proud of your body and show some leg. That way you won’t telegraph your moves and get absolutely destroyed like the lad pictured below.
Socks: Now I don’t want to brag, but I’ve had sock swag since day one. Perfect length. Mid Calf city. Don’t pull them all the way up to the knee and don’t roll them all the way down. Perfect mixture of old and new school. Somethings, you were just born with.
Undershirt/Pads: The white T-shirt popping out of the sleeve is just down right sloppy and I apologize. If we’re being honest, I shouldn’t have been out on the field in such shambles. Now my take on under shirts and pads is you simply don’t wear them. There is absolutely no need for an undershirt. The extra shirt under the tight jersey is uncomfortable and holds you back. Not a huge fan of pads. But, if you got bad shoulders, who am i to judge? Plus, they’re cute for the undersized player. They’ll help him fill out his jersey.
Now lets take a look at my present look on the ol’ pitch.
Cleats:Tell me those cleats don’t look good. I mean, just leaps and bounds better than those crappy ankle weights I used to wear. They have the perfect combination of color with the lime green to represent my favorite drink, Sprite, and the hint of baby blue to match my eyes. Absolutely fierce. Running straight. Arm cocked and ready to meet some face. Everyone and their mother knows what’s about to happen to this poor Navy defender.
Compression Shorts: What compression shorts? Is he wearing them? Maybe, maybe not. Just keeping everyone guessing. Every time you line up against a kid who’s showing more than an inch of compression shorts, you already have him beat. Just look across, pull up your shorts a little bit, and BOOM!! You just gave that kid a complete mental beat down. Then when it comes to the actual game, keep those hips square and go to work. No compression shorts=unpredictability. You can’t argue with science.
Socks: A picture says a 1000 words. When you got it, you got it.
Undershirts/Pads: Don’t need ’em. Don’t want em.
Even if my skills and overall game-play hasn’t really improved since sophomore year of high school, the evidence shows that simply redefining my look has improved my game about 75%. Thus, the overall results indicate that rugby is 5 % mental, 5 % physical, and 90% just looking the part. It’s truly amazing what the right pair of cleats and undergarments can do for one’s sporting ability.