Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Heart Rugby

My newest blog project, I Heart Rugby, is ready to launch. Now I need some rugby stories, your rugby stories. Have a look and of course submit your a post. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thank You and new blog

I started this blog on Labor Day 2008 to chronicle my journey as I trained in hopes of representing the United States in the first ever Sevens Rugby World Cup in Dubai. For me it didn't work out as I'd hope. Today, It was exciting to listen to the finals between Australia and New Zealand. I got caught up in the moment. Then I had a moment or two realizing I wasn't there.

To everyone who intentionally read my blog, thank you. I write intentionally because many have stumbled upon it accidentally. But I thank you for stopping by too. Thanks for writing me privately, leaving comments, indulging me with my requests for wrestling names and following the adventures of the pink cape. I'm not sure where it ended up.

Some of my posts were hard to write, but overall I've enjoyed blogging about this experience. Currently, I have another rugby blogging project in the pipeline where I ask fellow ruggers and lovers of the game to share their stories with me. Working out the final details, but please check back shortly if you'd like to participate.

Yours in Rugby

Australia has won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy smokes, It must have been amazing to see this. I was just listening and can only imagine how special it must be to be there live. Waltzing Matilda through out Dubai tonight.

Sudden Death Over time

Yikes. The final hooter has blown. And it's down to SUDDEN Death over time. Good lord, they've played 20 minutes already. But I guess they should be fit. .......I venture to say the Southern Hemisphere will emerge victorious!

World Cup FINALS: New Zealand v. Australia

The finals are on live. 3:00 minutes left on the clock. 10 all New Zealand v Australia.

USA out in semi finals

I don't know details, just the final score. The USA have bowed out of the first ever world cup losing to New Zealand in the Semi finals 12-14.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's here

The Inaugural Women's Sevens World Cup Kicks off in Dubai. Find updated info on all participating teams here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

USA World Cup Squad Announced

The final 12 have been chosen to represent the USA in the first ever World Cup in Dubai

They are

Amy Daniels, Boston, MA
Ellie Karvoski, Little Rock, AR
Pam Kosanke, Chicago, IL
Kelly White, Belmont, CA
Lauren Hoeck, Washington, DC
Alison Price, New York, NY
Teena Mastrangelo, Chicago, IL
Ines Rodriguez, Philadelphia, PA
Christy Ringgenberg, Minneapolis, MN
Jen Starkey, Washington, DC
Jess Watkins, Palo Alto, CA (Stanford U.)
Jen Sinkler, Philadelphia, PA

Nontraveling Reserves:
Ida Bernstein, Balitimore, MD
Phaidra Knight, Bronx, New York

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gone Wrestling

After all my talk about wrestling, I recently discovered that Sunday is a wrestling day.... in Bolivia. I picked up the September issue of National Geographic to read the cover article about where our food comes. But it was the article about Cholitas, women wrestlers, that left an impression.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Play Rugby Press Release

For Immediate Release

February 6, 2009
New York, NY

Play Sports for Life the trading name for Play Rugby, Inc ( and New York Rugby Club’s Women’s Team are extremely proud to announce a youth development rugby program partnership that will witness a growth in numbers of female rugby players and coaching role models throughout all age grades, in New York.

The program named the ‘Right of Passage’ is a player and coach development continuum that will utilize alumni players of the Play Rugby USA® (“PRUSA”) school program, transferred into a unique service learning coach training system. At a senior women’s level, alumni will be encouraged to give back to the community through the coaching mentoring program. New York Rugby Club’s women (“NYW”) and under 19’s Harlem based girls team (“U19’s”) will form the group of senior coaches and trainee coaches, respectively.

The PRUSA program has reached over 70 schools and 7000 students in New York City over the last 3 years. It will provide the coach mentoring / training foundation from which these new coaches can begin transferring their knowledge and experiences to other urban rugby playing girls. The NYW team is one of America’s premier Women’s teams, having been placed in the top 3 teams nationally for the last 6 years. Furthermore, the team has fielded 20 Women’s National Team players in its recent history.

Play Sports builds upon a strong foundation already in place with NYW with a number of these great athletes and female role models already coaching within the PRUSA program. One of four such coaches is Tyshawn Henry – a NYW and National Team stalwart and international 7-a-side (“7’s”) player, Tyshawn has been a PRUSA coach for over two years, transferring her expertise and speaking of her life experiences, to hundreds of underserved urban youth athletes. Most recently, Tyshawn competed in the winning Hong Kong USA 7’s team last year.

This new partnership will see these new developmental coaches being mentored with already existing and trained PRUSA coaches. Through this coaching relationship, the program will spark a whole new generation of female rugby coaches of all ages. Girls as young as 15 will be involved in coaching youth rugby players in the flag rugby school programs. There currently is an evident lack of youth rugby coaches, particularly females. Such a deficit, limits the number of younger females actually open to participating in the sport. The development of community coaches allows an increased number of females to have the opportunity to play as a wider playing audience can be reached. Young girls will learn to play the game and progress up through their school rugby PRUSA programs. Upon graduation, these young rugby stars may move in to playing in the very successful New York Women’s U19 program.

The New York Women’s U19 Coach, Molly Dengler, spoke of her aspirations for the program: “As part of our player development program, we have been looking for a way for the U19 girls to give back to their neighborhood and to the rugby community. The coach development component of the program provides an ideal outlet for the first community service opportunity of our players’ lives. Through this two-way mentorship, the U19 girls will not only improve their understanding of the game, but also see themselves as empowered leaders and role models.” .

However, the unique driving force emanating from the backbone of the partnership is the creation of, promotion and more importantly the actual involvement of local community female role models. By placing successful student and senior female athletes back into the player development cycle at every age group, this program will stimulate urban female students’ desire to continue to participate in sport. The conception of role models can be a great inspiration in knocking down old expectations and suggesting new ambitions, who knows, their involvement may just be the inspiration to unearth the next USA female rugby star!

Excited about the prospect of this new initiative, Mark Griffin, Founder of Play Sports commented: “This partnership is a fantastic addition to our program. Given so many of the pieces of the puzzle were already in place, and relationships established, it was really just a meeting of the minds. In addition to providing a valuable developmental experience for the existing players on the NYW U19 team, it will also enable us to engage many more young female athletes at a community level, starting in Harlem. From there, we look to replicate the program city-wide and ultimately with other teams and our affiliates elsewhere”.

The progress and development of the PRUSA program has sparked interest from Nike and as a result Play Sports decided to enter an online competition sponsored by Nike and Ashoka called GameChangers to promote the new initiative. To learn more, get involved, or comment please visit the following link:


Play Sports for Life is a registered non profit organization who’s vision is to create transformational change for youth through sports. Play Rugby USA® is the unique youth development program with an underlying philosophy of “developing youth through rugby”.

127 West 25th Street | New York, NY 10001

Tel: 212 851 8858 |

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Right of Passage: Youth Rugby Partnership

One of my favorite things to talk about is youth rugby. I've had the opportunity to share my love of this sport with youth through working with my club, New York Rugby's under 19 teams (NYRC) as well as through coaching with Play Rugby USA (PRUSA). Both organizations have partnered to develop a youth development rugby program that targets girls while growing the numbers of female coaches. The proposed program, The Right of Passage, has been submitted to Nike's and Ashoka's "“Gamechangers: Change the Game for Women in Sport” Collaborative Competition, which aims to find innovative solutions and catalyze a community of changemakers around the use of sport to improve community, accelerate development and drive social change for girls and women."

For more information, read about The Right of Passage.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sadeana's Hat

Sadeana's Hat- Finally

On my first trip to Little Rock in the fall of 2005 I was knitting a brown cable scarf. Somewhere between her house and a trip to Walmart, that I vaguely remember, I promised Sadeana that I would knit her something. She decided on a hat. 2006 came and went, as did 2007. On occasion when I'd see Sad, she ask, "How's my hat coming along?" I kept promising. In September of last year, I finally started it. I had it at the Bronxville camp. I hoped to finish in time for September's Little Rock camp. That didn't happen. Well, it took a few years but I finished it the Monday after the last Little Rock camp and sent it in the mail last week.

Sad- Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Burpee Comeback

One Hundred Day Burpee Challenge:Day One

In December I signed up to participate in the One Hundred Day Burpee Challenge. From January 1st to the 10th I was going strong. One Saturday, Hobs and Sarah met me in Sunset Park for some passing and we topped off the session with burpees. That was the last time I did them, until recently when I received an email reminder about it. Today marks day 34. I'm not exactly up to 34, but I am making a come back. I'll add this to my exercise routine. This morning, I went running well before it began snowing. I did some yoga too. This evening I'll do some burpees. Does this still count at two a days?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Life after Rugby: Working Out

Working out has been an intergral part of my rugby career. It has required a commitment of time as well as physical energy. To my surprise I have continued working out since returning from camp. Now,I'm even running. And I feel great! Honestly I will not miss two a days. Recently, my trainings have felt liberating. Maybe it's due to not thinking about fitness testing. I think I've also continued working out because it's easier for me to keep going than to stop and start all over again. Secretly, the vain part of me fears packing on pounds.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Moving on: Life after Rugby

Yesterday I had my final visit with my PT, Matt. Knowing I was away for try outs, his first question was "So, how'd it go?" "I didn't make it." It wasn't so bad telling Matt maybe because I readied myself for it. I'd been working with him since last August, so I knew he'd want to know. On my way out another therapist inquired too. "I didn't make it," I told her. Part of her response, "there's next time," struck a nerve.

I don't belive there will be a next time. My belief is never say never. But as far as playing international rugby for the US, I'm pretty certain that I will not have this opportunity again. In part, I'm ready for new challenges, experiences, and spending quality time with friends and family away from a rugby pitch.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's been a busy week. I arrived home from Little Rock early Monday morning. Then I headed to Washington DC for the Inauguration that afternoon. Back home and catching up. Admittedly, I'm winding down this blog. But hope to post again next week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

World Cup

My world cup dream is officially over. Best of luck to all who make residency and ultimately get to represent the USA.

signing off


BTW SAD- just finished your hat this morning.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

National Camp: Day 2

Just back from a day at the land aka The Greater Little Rock Rugby Complex. The first thing I noticed was the unusual number of cars in the lot. There were quite a few people out, including some familiar faces like Wilma and Brian of the Little Rock Rugby Club. There were also a few dogs running around, including Sheila, Zoe, Tasha all belonging to the sevens contigent.

We were there all day, having a morning and afternoon session. This morning we had ball handling and tackling assessments followed by the the Samoa tackling drill. Most of us had a lunch break inside, in the warm temperatures. Daniela, who arrived yesterday, got to do her fitness testing today. Sinkler said D had a four minute break following her testing, a banana and then rejoined the group for the afternoon session.

During the afternoon, we had set play scenarios, scrums, line outs, and kick offs from which we moved onto open field play. With fitness and skills testing done, it's nice to start putting the game together. That's what tomorrow will be all about: time to put it all together and play with each other.

Mixed Emotions about Testing

How do you think they're feeling?

Kirsten, Kitt, and Flatemen

Amy, Ines, and Teena


Friday, January 16, 2009

During the Bleep test

Today was the first day of National Camp in Little Rock. Earlier, we had morning testing, followed by lunch back at our hotel. This afternoon we took over a boys locker room at a local Christian school. We used the school’s track for the running portion of fitness testing. If you’ve spent anytime around me you know I have a penchant for talking to myself even in the company of others. The following conversation took place while running the bleep test.

Me to SBJ: You're awesome!
SBJ to Me: You're awesome!
Sinkler to SBJ: I don't think she is talking to you
SBJ to Sinkler: No, she is talking to me.

Little Rock Camp: Day 1

Greetings from Little Rock. The New York contigency that flew out of EWR made it safely. Sitting at Newark yesterday afternoon, I was thinking LaGuardia would have been so much more convient. Upon landing in Houston, I heard about the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson. Most players made it last night. Daniela apparently was due to fly out of LaGuardia yesterday afternoon and will join us later today.

This morning, Group 2, had a quick dip in the pool followed by a nice breakfast. Group 1 started earlier at 6:30am. They should be on their way back to the hotel now, as Group 2 readies to leave for our first round of testing. Pull ups, juggling, vertical leap are some of the items on the menu. Following lunch both groups will go to the track for the running portion: 10m, 40m, bleep test, ten 100's.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back with the kids

During the 2007-2008 academic year, I worked for Play Rugby USA introducing flag rugby to kids in New York City Public Schools. This year I got my first assignment at a middle school in Queens. My first foray back into to the gym made me realize that I miss this. In my current program ,I am partnered with a teacher, Ms. G who teaches rugby several days a week when I'm not there. Every other week, I serve as a mentor working with her and the students to learn the game. A goal is to get the kids learning and playing flag rugby so that they can compete against other schools in a championship event in March.

Ms. G introduced the game to the kids on Monday. They were happy to share their knowlegdge with me. Apparently, they saw some inspiring video clips of tackle rugby.

Teaching lateral/backwards passing is one of the most challenging concepts to introduce in the US. It's not a prevalent concept in major American sports. Ms. G is eager to get them passing laterally. So we try a three on three game. The kids shake their heads "yes," they understand they're supposed to pass backwards, then look at me funny when the starting whistle blows. That's Ok. They're energy is infectious. I'm excited about introducing this game I love to a new generation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Jugglers during New York City Marathon, 2008

The New York City Marathon brings out all sorts of participants: your elite marathoners, wheel chair competitors, a heart transplant recipient, cancer survivors, FDNY etc. Last year, I noticed several jugglers in the field. There have probably been jugglers participating for a while. I'm sure I just happen to notice them because juggling is one of the skills players will be tested on at this weekend's camp.

At my gym, there happens to be a juggling class. Last fall, Flatemen happened upon it one Thursday before practice. I had the best of intentions of attending. But it didn't exactly work out. I did make it to one session, where I met Kyle, the red head juggler, kitted in a Mets Orange and Blue jersey. He tried to help quickly advancing me from one to two to three balls. Though he was supportive, offering constructive comments, this was a humbling experience. If all that is required is that I toss and catch two balls with varying rhythm and little synchronicity then I can be hailed a success. Throw in a third ball and it all goes down hill.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Preparing for Camp

Two days until I leave for Little Rock. The first sevens camp, I attended was in New Orleans in 1999. This year marks my eighth January sevens camp, which usually falls the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. day. So many camps later and I still get nervous. I had a great pool work out this morning, part of which I spent visualizing. Got Sadeana's email with packing and room lists. Last weekend I actually set some of my kit aside in anticipation of having to pack. The Khaki pants throw me. You'd think by now, I know that I should own a pair. But I don't. At least, I have the next day to find something that resembles khaki pants. I get to add rucking pads to my list of things to bring. As I think about this I should move them closer to the door so that I actually remember to bring them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Expedite: to speed up the process

I reread my post from December 12. According to that, on December 11, I called my insurance to begin an expedited appeal regarding physical therapy visits. In theory, a patient is supposed to receive an answer regarding such an appeal within two days. Well nearly a month, twenty to thirty something calls, some of which contained copious tears of frustration mixed with a few expletives, and hundreds of minutes on my phone plan later, I finally got approved for visits TODAY, exactly one week before I leave for camp. Tuesday I called atleast four times. There was no crying that day. Today, Boris, a resolutions specialist, called and left a message. Eager to speak to him, I called him back. Well beyond the midway point of our conversation Boris said he hoped to have an answer for me by January 15. And that's when I lost it. The date was a trigger. "Boris, January 15 is too late. I go to Little Rock on January 15!" Boris couldn't get off the phone fast enough.

While in the middle of another call with a customer service representative from my insurance, Amy, another resolution specialist called. She was the one person who I could get on the phone over the last two weeks, a saving grace. Although it came a lot later than I wanted, she had an answer for me. I finally received authorization for visits.

I wanted a quick answer. I opted for the expedited appeal vs the 30 day so that I could get treatment well in advance of camp. The process was supposed to be prompt. So much for that plan. I figure this is all a big joke. As much as I "plan," there's always something out of my control. Guess that's just life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008: Year in Review

2008 was a pretty good year!

After a 2 year absence, I attended the
December 2007 and January 2008 camps

Stacy, Me, and Phaidra on lunch break during January camp

Represented the US at San Diego Sevens
Drove SBJ & Teena to Cold Stone Creamery before closing

Alison, Amy, Ellie, Christy, and SBJ before San Diego banquet

First time at Hong Kong Sevens since 2002
Played in Final at Hong Kong Stadium
Celebrated my birthday in South Stand
dressed as French Maid

Sightseeing at the Peak
Ellie, Ines, Amy, Me, Mike, Christy, and Teena

After the Final
Christy, Ellie, me, Teena, Amy, Pam, Kelly, Ines, Alison, and Sadeana

Started second 4 week peaking work out program
Worked with NYRC U-19s

New York U-19 girls, Big Apple Classic Champions

Represented the US at Amsterdam Sevens
Walked by the Osdorp windmill everyday while on tour
Started blogging in Amsterdam
Traded for clogs and jackets

USA v Brazil, Melissa on attack

Jess and Jenn as Brazilians

June, July, August
Summer of "Beefcake"
Played with the NRU
Coached NYRC u-19

Hanging with the horses during a weekend with the NRU

Recovery: Alison, Ines, and Kitt

NRU at ITTs, Pittsburgh

Went to two camps in one month:

Bronxville and Little Rock

Pink Cape traveled through the US

Chris in the Pink Cape at Little Rock Camp

Completed the 7 day food challenge
Completed fitness testing in Bronxville
Selected for Dubai 7's
Enjoyed Sweet Sixteens in St. Louis

New York Rugby in St. Louis

Finalists in Club National Championship
Champions of New York Sevens

Photo courtesy of Sabrina Asch
Champions of the 50th Annual New York Sevens
BR:Hoop, FOSL, X, Flateman, Jenny, Brafman, London, Me, Hedwig, Maura, Hobs, and Rosalie
FR: Carrie and Daniela

Chose a wrestling nickname
Tried out the Ty-breaker
Worked a lot!
Countdown to 2009!