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Field work redefined

Emily Lorente ’11 (white shorts), captain of the women’s rugby club team, offers direction to her teammates at a recent practice.

Emily Lorente ’11
Hometown: Mount Vernon, Washington
Major: religion

I learn on the rugby field. For the last three years I have been the captain, and sometimes coach, of this rapidly expanding program. Rugby, in and of itself, is a learning experience. Almost all members of the Whitman team learn the game here, having never played or even heard of it in high school.

More than simply learning the complicated — and sometimes inexplicable — rules (officially called "laws") of the game, rugby teaches players about their limits, their strengths, and their physical and emotional breaking points. Players soon come to realize the difference between being hurt (Get up! Play on!) and being injured (Rest! Recover!).

Emily Lorente ’11

As a captain and a teacher of this team, I have not only learned about myself as a leader but also the delicate process of helping my players and teammates learn these things about themselves. I have learned when to push and when to give, and how to provide support for some very intense, passionate and strong women.

In our Saturday games, sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose tremendously. The important thing, I have learned, is that we do it together. Some call rugby "the ultimate team sport," and I fully agree. The game has taught me that being my best is incredibly important, not for personal achievement but to play my best for my team.

Finally, I have learned the logistics of running a club sport at Whitman — managing a budget, scheduling games and tournaments, reserving field space, planning fundraisers and making travel arrangements.

The skills that I have learned on the rugby field are immeasurable. Interacting with other people is a subtle process that manifests itself in many ways, and I know that my time as a leader on this team will help me lead others in the future. The organizational and logistical skills I have learned are the practical backbone of any well-organized program, and the fun I have had while doing it is beyond compare.

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