After a 94 year hiatus, rugby is set to make its grand return to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The last time the sport was an Olympic contest, the United States rugby team took home the gold. It was since deemed too violent for the Olympics, and following those 1924 games, rugby lost esteem in the mainstream American sports world.
Despite a disappearance from public eye, rugby culture in America has stayed very much alive. Rugby is hugely popular in college sports counter culture, keeping the spirit of the historic sport alive even its absence from the Olympics. As we approach the year of its return to the games, is is likely that rugby will gain even more attention than it has in recent years.
As a sport, rugby has had a reputation associated with binge drinking and violence. However, this image is rather dated. While one draw of the sport is that it is easy on the rules and tough on the body, it is not taken lightly by rugby players - men and women alike play rugby for the love of the game. Even though American rugby is regaining its footing with the approach of the 2016 Olympics, club teams still struggle for recognition and field time in their towns and at their colleges and universities.
As defending Olympic gold-medal champions, the United States has a reputation to uphold in the world of rugby. It is the duty of colleges and other sports facilities to get behind this raw talent and enthusiasm for the sport by making space for these club and recreational teams on their fields.