Our contributing writer Lauren is passionate about women in sports, and the inequities they face on the playing field. Lauren is a recent high school graduate and enjoys writing.
One of the main appeals of playing a team sport is the sense of family that comes along with it. Rugby may be known for being one of the most physical and brutal sports in the world, but it is no stranger to creating families amongst teammates. “When you join a rugby team you automatically have a rugby family. So many different walks of life enjoy the sport, all of us with different personalities, body types, jobs, and interests, but at the end of the day, we all have the love of the sport in common.” That’s what Victoria Passmore, the current captain of the Cape Cod women’s rugby team, said when asked about family in the sport. Victoria has only been the captain of the women’s team for a short time, but that’s because they have only been around for a short time. The story of how they came to be, and what their future will entail, will no doubt be one for the rugby history books.
The Cape Cod women’s rugby team was founded off the back of the preexisting men’s team in 2021 (but officially began in 2022). The men’s team, founded in 2010, saw significant success over its 10+ years in operation and decided they wanted to expand the club. One of the ways they chose to do that was to bring on a women’s team, and later a youth team. However, introducing a women’s team would prove to be a challenge. Because women’s rugby is new to Cape Cod, it was difficult to get the word out and bring in new members. Once new members did start to join, there weren’t enough to be a fully functional team; there are currently 13 members and 15 are needed for a full side in rugby. But this past fall, the Cape Cod team combined with the Monadnock women’s team to play 4 proper games. A good start, but still very few games compared to the men who play 9-10 games per season.
From a business standpoint, the women’s team was able to avoid some of the challenges women's sports tend to deal with when starting up. Instead of branching out as their own club, they joined forces (and funding) with the men’s team. To get sponsors, both teams worked together using a boots-on-the-ground effort. They approached local businesses with sponsorship propositions and, according to Victoria, many people have been happy to help out the club. As the club has been adding more women’s players, they realized they needed to introduce new board members and bylaws specifically to represent said players.
Another key ingredient to the team’s future success is their mentoring and support system. In the world of sports, as well as in business, women often need to stick together and support each other through thick and thin. For the Cape Cod women’s rugby team, not only is there an overwhelming sense of family, but a system to support any and all players. Jessica Sherman, a player on the team and the newly elected Vice President for the women’s side, credits the experienced, veteran rugby players for that support system: “We have some players who have played rugby at the collegiate level prior to joining CCRC and they are the main support system for the newer women. There is an automatic trust that comes from previous rugby experience. But also, the women with experience are the biggest motivators for growth on the team.”
Victoria’s hopes for the future of the team is that more members will join and that they will get a proper schedule so the team can continue to grow in popularity. With the type of environment they have created, and the players they have, there is no doubt that they will achieve Victoria’s vision.
By: Lauren Witham
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