Aug. 21, 2014

In addition to promoting all CEP activities being offered at the Youth Olympic Games, one of my favorite parts of my jobs is getting to get out and cheer on Team USA athletes as they compete in all of their events. As a former athlete I love getting to see all the preparation, sacrifices and dedication that our athletes have put forth come to fruition. I’ve also loved being able to learn so much about each of the sports that our athletes are competing in.

Growing up I was always running around playing sports; yet despite the hours I’ve spent on fields, courts and water, there are a few sports I have yet to try or be exposed to. Rugby is one of those. So, when our women’s rugby team qualified for the bronze-medal match, I knew I couldn’t miss their game.

Luckily, our men’s rugby team was in the stands with me and was kind enough to explain all the rules of rugby throughout the game. Despite my lack of rugby knowledge, two things were blatantly clear: those girls hit hard, and they play with heart. I think I held my breath for the whole 14 minutes, and for quite a while after.

Unfortunately the score line didn’t fall in our favor, and China won the medal. Yet the girls handled themselves with nothing short of complete class. In post-game interviews with local and national news outlets, they spoke about the team, their experience, and the memories and friendships they’re taking away from China.

For my first rugby game, I’ve got to say Team USA has set the bar high. From the men’s team cheering in the stands to the girls playing their hearts out, I’ve been nothing but impressed with my first glimpse at rugby.

So thanks, USA Rugby. You guys and girls definitely have gained a big fan.

-Jess