On a fall Saturday afternoon, the crowd cheers as the competition creates a heated intensity on the field.
It’s an environment in which rugby players thrive. Having experienced this type of environment firsthand, I can tell you it’s pretty hectic.
“It’s very competitive and hard – it pushes you to your limits,” said Elliot Curtis, a 52nd Force Support Squadron Eifel Arms Inn shuttle driver. “I guess you could say it gives me my adrenaline fix.”
Rugby is an 80-minute game divided into two 40-minute halves. There are a lot of rules and regulations that are not easy to follow, but simply put, it’s a mash-up of soccer, football and wrestling.
Curtis, who’s been playing for more than three years, was on top of his game … until he started feeling something wrong with his shoulder.
“Last January, it [his shoulder] got so bad that it would knock the wind out of me and make me feel nauseous,” he said. “I would lose strength in my dominant arm, my tackling shoulder. I did get it checked out finally, and they said that it was a type-four slap tear.”
Curtis couldn’t recover from his shoulder surgery without the help of someone close to him: his wife, Staff Sgt. Charlotte Curtis, a 52nd Fighter Wing Judge Advocate military justice paralegal, who he met at a rugby pub.
Curtis rehabbed from his shoulder injury and is now in his first year as captain of the University of Trier rugby team. He says it’s like ‘baptism under fire’ because you find out what you are made of and what the guy next to you is made out of when you’re on the field.
“Some people go to the gym or do cross country,” he said. “I play rugby, because that’s me.”