On one of the first sunny Saturdays of spring, the New Paltz Women’s Rugby team hosted a day of fun on the field to raise money for the organization, Family of New Paltz. The team faced Marist College in the annual “Ruckfest.”
The team contacts other local teams to join them in playing rugby for a cause.
Family of New Paltz is a local non-for profit charity that offers a range of services. According to their Facebook page, they “offer assistance with emergency food, counseling, clothing, household items and area resources.”
Team captain and president of the club Alyssa Plastini, remarked on the significance of the organization they worked with.
“Family of New Paltz is a local charity that is important to us,” Plastini said. “We not only accepted money donations, but we also asked Family of New Paltz if they needed anything for their pantry. As a team we enjoy helping out and giving back to the community where we play rugby,” she said.
The conditions on Saturday were muddy. Although Marist took the victory, Plastini adds that the New Paltz team put up a good fight.
Team member Charlotte Guillotin asserts that they played to the best of their abilities.
“We played our best, implementing a lot of the skills we’ve been practicing all semester,” she said. “Even had a chance to play our rookies- who did amazing.”
The sense of community is important to Guillotin, who believes the team is based on empowerment and closeness.
“We learn together how to use our bodies, no matter what our size or shape, to take down others while playing one of the most badass sports in the world!” she said. “In rugby, there’s no way to be successful in a game without the whole team on the field— 15 lovely ruggers— working together. We all create such a bond and trust with each other on and off the field.”
According to Plastini, being part of the team has also made her realize the capabilities of her body.
“The awesome thing about rugby is the strength you begin to see in yourself,” she said. “After playing rugby for the past four years, I have realized just how strong I am. I’ve really pushed my body in ways I never imagined.”
The season went well, according to Plastini.
Ruckfest was their last game; they began their season at a tournament in Maryland, where they placed fourth out of 11 teams. After, they faced off against teams in the Tri-State 7’s tournament, where they finished second place in their bracket, and placed high overall.
Guillotin encourages people to join the team.
“The New Paltz Women’s Rugby team is one of the most accepting and rewarding clubs to join on campus,” she said. “All body types and levels of experience— or no experience— are welcome. We’re always looking for new players to join the rugger community!”