Former Cobra Heads Rugby Club
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 13:09
Since Parkland's inception, the athletic program has been the beneficiary of some exciting triumphs. Atop this list are the multiple national championships that remind us of this excellence. These include men's basketball and baseball, as well as women's volleyball. Not to be forgotten are the numerous other Parkland Cobra athletic teams throughout the years that have exceeded expectations and provided a platform for athletes to advance their collegiate careers. Lost in the conversation of Parkland's athletic program is football. Unfortunately for the fans of that game, there is no football program or close substitute. This may soon change.
The man who could be responsible for this change is Brent Jordan. Jordan is a former Parkland student and current medical student at the University of Illinois. He is also a member of the Champaign County Flatlanders Rugby Football Club. His goal is simply to introduce rugby to any Parkland student interested as well as anyone interested throughout the community. The thought of rugby may not be enticing at first as it is not well known or as talked about as other major sports, at least in America. A better understanding of the game may sway a select few into actually giving it a chance.
Rugby has been around for ages. The sport is commonly referred to as the "father" of American Football. Rugby lends itself to a style of play that is not strictly regulated. There are fewer instances where play is stopped or where penalties occur; obviously a huge difference from the game of football to which most are accustomed. American football is the direct product of rugby's evolution. Rugby and football have a lot similar principles that draw comparisons but include notable differences that separate the two.
An important part of the Rugby game is the versatility of its players. There is no offense for defense switch when the ball changes possessions. Anyone in the field of play must be skilled on both sides of the ball. Your ability to score holds as much weight as your ability to tackle an opposing defender. The reason all of this is important is because unlike football, there is no stoppage of play in rugby once the ball changes possession. The field of play takes on a style similar to soccer in this regard. The game consists of two 40-minute halves and only five substitutions per team. Conditioning and endurance plays a huge role in your ability to perform.
There are other aspects that differ from football which are worth mentioning. The field, called a pitch, is longer and wider than a traditional football field. The rugby ball does not contain any laces, and it is a lot rounder than a football.
Also unlike football, which has 11 players from each team on the field, rugby games consist of 15 players on each team participating in the competition. Rugby also has quite the interesting rule in regards to passing the ball. Players can never make a forward pass to advance the ball. All passes must be lateral or backwards. Those are just a few individual components that allow rugby to stand alone from any other sport.
Jordan, well versed in the rugby world, is looking to bring the uniqueness of the game to the Parkland community and surrounding area. No experience is needed to play and it could prove to be a great social tool or outlet. "I needed something both familiar and (a way) to meet new people," says Jordan of his decision to join the Champaign County Flatlanders. "It's a good way to get out some aggression as well."
As head of public relations, fields and equipment, fundraising, and recruiting for the Flatlanders Rugby Club, Jordan hopes to raise interest in the sport. "We want to reach out to people stationed in town," he said. "Hopefully build the Rugby brand." Proof of Jordan's statement is reflected in his roster that consists of one current Parkland student as well as six former Parkland students who inhabit the Champaign area. "We want to build roots in the community. We want to be a part of the town," he said. The Flatlanders, a charity based organization, are planning to live by those words as a youth rugby league is in the works. It is scheduled for the winter and will focus on children ages 8-12.
As knowledge and interest in the game of rugby expands throughout the Champaign community, the idea of a Parkland Cobra Rugby team may strike someone's attention. When asked if there was a chance this could materialize, Jordan responded, "If there was enough interest, we'd be happy to get a program started." The possible addition would only improve the outstanding reputation of all of Parkland's athletic clubs and their commitment to excellence. For more information on the Champaign County Flatlanders Rugby Football Club, visit www.flatlanderrugby.com.