WKU Rugby club celebrates last homecoming as club

Mercedes Trent

A chance to relive the glory days can be hard to come by unless you’re a WKU rugby club alum.

Tonight, as part of WKU’s homecoming celebration, current club members will compete against former members at the Preston Complex. 

The women’s team, with the alumnae competing as the “Old Girls,” will play first at 7 p.m. The men’s game follows at 8 p.m. as current members take on the “Old Boys.”

The game is one of the club’s biggest event, according to Sports Club Coordinator Jordan Gardner.

“It’s a big event for both clubs because they get to meet the founders of their organization,” Gardner said.

Former men’s club president Alex Lee estimated that the men’s club usually draws at least 50 alumni each year. 

He also said he expects a greater turnout this year as it is the last year the men’s rugby club will be a club sport. The club will officially become a Division One team at WKU next fall, Lee said. 

While the change hasn’t been mentioned much, Lee predicts the alum will be “even more excited” once they find out about the change. He also said the alum will “try harder this year” to make their last mark on the club.

The women’s club will follow suit and become a Division One sport in fall 2013, former women’s club president Christina Bradley said.

Bradley, who believes that a love of rugby draws alumni back for the events, also said that current members benefit from sharing stories and experiences with the alumni.

Lee also noted that the alumni appreciate the chance to see the program’s growth since they were in the club.

 “It’s just something where they can come back and see what the program has done since they left,” Lee said. 

While the alumni and current club members develop a bond from sharing stories and experience, Bradley said, the game still gets pretty competitive.

In past years, the current members have typically triumphed in the women’s game. The alumni have prevailed, however, on the men’s side, though last year the current members of the club managed a win.

The level of competition is another draw for alumni, Gardner said.

“They like to come see old friends, show they still have their A-game,” Gardner said. “It’s all in good fun.”

While Lee said the alumni like to brag that they “were better in their day,” he believes the alumni are more concerned with just getting a chance to play rugby again.

“(The alumni) get the feeling of what it’s like to be back on the field,” Lee said. “They may only get to play for five minutes but they give their all for five minutes.”