Rugby Women

By 1972, rugby football as an organized sport for women, was played at three universities in the U.S., including the University of Illinois. In 1977 the Lake Shore Ale-wives became the second women’s rugby team in Chicago. This video contains Interviews with the players, footage from practice sessions and scenes of their first home game. The women reflect on the problems they must overcome in playing a traditionally male sport and the benefits they derive from it.

00:00Copy video clip URL Onscreen text: “By 1972, rugby football as an organized sport for women, was played at three universities in the U.S., including the U. of Illinois. In 1977 the Lake Shore Ale-wives became the second women’s rugby team in Chicago. This video shows the new team at practice and playing in their first home game against a team from Milwaukee.”

00:19Copy video clip URL Conversation with men on the sidelines of the rugby field about the women’s rugby team: “Some of them are cute.” “What about their skill?” “Well they have good legs.” 

00:59Copy video clip URL Title card. Montage of still photographs of the rugby players set to The Pointer Sisters’ “Yes We Can Can.” 

01:34Copy video clip URL Rugby practice, with discussion of the founding of the club.

03:08Copy video clip URL A team member talks about commuting 40 minutes to play. 

03:28Copy video clip URL Footage of a rugby match in the park. 

04:00Copy video clip URL In voiceover, the problem of convincing women that they can play rugby. 

04:57Copy video clip URL Players speak enthusiastically about the scrimmage.

07:05Copy video clip URL Driving in a car, a woman talks about her nervousness before previous matches. But now that she has more experience being tackled she doesn’t think about it anymore. 

07:37Copy video clip URL More footage of practice. Boys watching from the sidelines. 

08:00Copy video clip URL The mental barrier of contact sports for women. Unlike men, women are not used to touching each other. 

08:54Copy video clip URL The team at the bar after practice. 

09:50Copy video clip URL A team member talks about nervousness before a match. The supportiveness of her teammates. 

10:50Copy video clip URL A bystander who declares himself to be an “M.C.P…. Male Chauvinist Pig” says he’s not going to watch the game because “Women have three functions in life… children, kitchen, and church.” 

11:30Copy video clip URL Women wanting to be good at rugby, working hard at it once they join, but they need to be coaxed into playing the first game. Footage of the game. A woman on crutches watches from the sidelines. 

13:40Copy video clip URL A player talks about her decision to play rugby and that becoming part of her identity.

14:16Copy video clip URL A sing-along at the bar: “I don’t wanna be a housewife, I just wanna be a whore. I’d rather hang around the Piccadilly Underground.”

15:23Copy video clip URL End credits: “A Videotape by: Eleanor Boyer, Terra Levin, Jeanne Meyers. Thanks to the Lakeshore Alewives Womans Rugby Football Club. 1st Season Fall 1977. Team coach: Jeanne ‘Sam’ Helmrick. Team members: Suzy Ankenbrant, Elissa Augello, Nessa Calabrese, Katie Callahan, Fran Carr, Sue Dragoon, Anita Guerin, Jeanne ‘Sam’ Helmrick, Erica Helstrom, Kathy Hofnagle, Aurelia Joyce, Terra Lynda Levin, Chris Marshall, Lori Miller, Emily Nims, Pat Standley, Jan Thomas. We also thank: Chicago Womens’ Rugby Football Club, Milwaukee Womens’ Rugby Football Club. Technical Assistance Provided by: Communications for Change. Editing Facilities: Chicago Editing Center. Loop Center YWCA Video Project.”

 

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