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Rugby Player - Annamarie Jarecki

Interview by Bernell Hooker



Previous Job:

Private Investigator (Still has a day job)

First Job:

Graphic Design internship / Softball & Rugby Coach


Bachelors of Art Degree, University Whitewater


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Grew up:

New Berlin, Wisconsin

Person most admired:

My Mom

Favorite movie:

A League of Their Own

Favorite musician:

Jack Johnson

Favorite book:

Lamb – Christopher Moore

Annamarie is a player and the recruiter for the Milwaukee Scylla Women’s Rugby Team (pronounced SILL-uh). Her achievements in the game read as follows:

Player for Scylla since spring 2002

Previous Clubs: ~ UW-Whitewater

UW-Whitewater Best Tackler 1999
UW-Whitewater MVP 2000-02
Scylla Back of the Year 2003
Scylla Forward of the Year 2004
Scylla Officer 2003-present
Wisconsin Select 2004

She’s a private investigator by day, graphic designer by trade, but considers being a Rugby Player for the Scylla Women’s Rugby Wisconsin team as her passion. But that’s not all; her mom and dad are both athletes and coaches. Like parents, like daughter.

I’m fascinated by those who play rugby. For one, it’s an odd game and usually played by men. Second, it appears to be a rough game that definitely turns women away. But according to Annamarie, it’s a game of skill and it is truly a team sport.

Why Rugby? Because I needed to be on a team after I graduated from highschool; I really craved the competitive play, training and camaraderie that playing sports provides. Rugby was something I hadn’t tried before. Once you step on the field, it’s hard to leave. Playing rugby also allowed me to travel to places like Wales and Ireland. It took me places outside of the U.S. Everyone I met or played against was open and welcoming.

What advice would you give a young girl or woman wanting to play? Definitely get yourself out there and don’t be intimidated by the tackling part of the game. You need to know what you’re doing and that comes with time. Stick it out, work hard at it, and learn the game. Don’t give up because you don’t know the game. Rugby is an awesome alternative if you’ve been cut by your school basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc. teams or you want to play something other than the typical sports schools offer. Rugby continues to become more popular and accepted as an alternate sport for girls and women; many area high schools are offering it for girls as a club sport. The Scylla’s Women’s Rugby Team is always looking for players and there are other women’s teams that need players as well.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken? I moved away from home and went to live in Hawaii with my brother and sister. I had to step up and be big sister. It was challenging.

If you could change anything about how women’s sports are viewed, what would it be? We are not taken seriously as athletes. Women are still viewed primarily as sex symbols; stereotyping affects how others view us and how we view ourselves. Some women believe if they play rugby, men aren’t going to be attracted to them which is a misconception. You are still a woman whether you’re playing, get dirty or get hurt. We have to start supporting each other and not assess someone as an athlete or a non-athlete based upon gender or appearance but rather on their skills and ability.

What’s the first word that comes to mind to the following?
Share - Communication
Education - Must
Empower - Women

The Game at a Glance Scylla Women’s Rugby Team – Wisconsin
With 15 players per side, a rugby team is divided into forwards and backs. Forwards are usually the larger, stronger players on the team. Their main job is to win possession of the ball. The backs are often smaller, faster, and more agile and typically exploit the ball possessions, which are won by the forwards.

Scylla Women’s Rugby Team – Wisconsin

Both the forwards and backs play at the same time. All 15 players assemble on the field, called a pitch, and the match starts with a kickoff. The receiving team generally tries to move the ball downfield to score. However, in attempting to score, the team cannot pass the ball forward block. The defenders can only tackle the ball carrier.

After the ball carrier is tackled, there is a scramble for the ball. Hence, a tackle does not stop play in rugby. Once tackled, the player must release the ball immediately so play may continue. The tackled ball carrier should attempt to release the ball advantageously toward his or her team. Still alive, any player may pick up the ball.

When players from both sides fight for the ball when it is on the ground, the situation is known as a “ruck.” This can be described as the most dynamic action of the game. The team that retains ball possession during tackles and ensuing rucks has an advantage over the other team.

Sometimes the ball is buried during a tackle, or a player commits a minor infraction of the laws (a penalty). If the team that has not offended doesn’t first gain an advantage from the continuance of play, the referee will stop play and call for a scrum to restart the match. The non-offending team has the advantage of putting the ball into the scrum and, therefore, will most often win possession.

During a scrum the ball must be worked backwards, and the player’s hand cannot touch the ball in the scrum. When the ball emerges, open play resumes. The remaining players who are not involved in the scrum must stay behind their respective offside line.

Once a team has worked the ball downfield and crossed the opposing team’s goal line, and forced the ball onto the ground with downward pressure, a try is scored. Each try is worth five points. After each try, the scoring team has the opportunity to score two more points with a conversion.

Both teams’ play to score tries during two 40-minute halves.

Source: USA Rugby

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