Newspaper article Roll Call

Roughing It ; Members of D.C. Rugby Club See the Sport as a Metaphor for Politics

Newspaper article Roll Call

Roughing It ; Members of D.C. Rugby Club See the Sport as a Metaphor for Politics

Article excerpt

For politicos and Hill staffers, Washington's Renegade Rugby Football Club is a way to escape the hectic hassle of work while playing a sport they see as political in nature.

"Being able to blow off steam by hitting people really hard helps relieve tension," says David Joseph, political analyst for the United Food and Commercial Workers. "And there's a direct parallel between politics and rugby. The team is definitely more important than the individual in both politics and rugby."

As a former campaign staffer for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and ex- Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Joseph has been with the team since 2005, playing the position of prop.

"A prop is equivalent to a defensive or offensive tackle in American football," he said. "Props are the biggest guys on the field. Their job is to make short distance tackles or push the other team around."

In rugby, teams focus on controlling possession of a four-panel oval ball. To score, the team must gain ground on the field, taking the ball across the opponent's goal area. Rugby rules do not allow players to throw the ball forward, forcing them to run or kick the ball toward the end zone.

Similar to football, players regularly tackle the opposition, but without the luxury of shoulder pads or helmets. Bill Huff takes the brunt of the team's biggest hits.

"Like any sort of contact sport, injuries happen. I'm actually right now in the middle of an injury after getting a forearm to the face," he said.

Established in the fall of 1998, the Renegades joined the Potomac Rugby Union as a Division III club and have competed throughout the area. …

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