Rugby is the most popular amateur game to be played by not only women but men and youth as well. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 100,000 Americans who play the sport and more than 1,400 different Rugby clubs throughout the United States. The great thing about this beloved sport is that it does not discriminate against sex, age or athletic ability when playing in clubs or on community teams. One of the greatest Rugby organizations enjoyed by women, men and kids is actually found in Fort Collins Colorado!
The Northern Colorado Flamingos were founded in 1978 by a group of Colorado State University graduates and boast 30 plus active members as of today, with games every Saturday. The Flamingos are members of the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union and provide the sponsorship of coaches to Fort Collins Youth Rugby Program. The Rugby Football Union is made up of 30 different teams in 5 divisions: Premiere, Divison 2, Collegiate, Women, and Youth, with Fort Collins being one of the 6 Divison 2 clubs with teams from Denver, Colorado Springs, Greely, and Glennwood Springs. Nicole, who owns a Fort collins plumbing company, Hahn Plumbing, plays in the Women’s division and not only loves the game but also the way it brings different cities and communities together. Being that teams from Denver and Greely are incorporated into her division she has been able to network and connect with male and female rugby players. In fact, some nights during the week you can find a handful of people from different teams and different cities playing a pickup game of rugby at one of the many great parks throughout their Northern Colorado area.
Generally, the season is split in two with the Fall season in September/October and the Spring season in March/April. The Flamingos also play in many tournaments throughout the year, such as the well-known prestigious and very competitive Aspen Rugby Fest in Las Vegas. Then there are the matches against the mountain and collegiate clubs from Vail, Breckenridge, and Steamboat. The year is rounded out with The Flamingo’s 7 tournament that they put on every year during the second week in May. So, while there may be seasons splitting up the year Rugby most definitely is a year-round sport and a great social and extracurricular activity for many. With player’s mostly being in their mid to late 20’s there are still many that lay in the age range from 18-45. Players have a broad spectrum of jobs, income levels, and athletic abilities but it doesn’t stop them from forming a team and getting out on that field and really playing the game. If you are a dedicated rugby player it doesn’t matter if you are in Fort Collins Colorado Charleston or Upstate New York, you are sure to seek out the nearest Rugby league near you and get some field time in. With more players joining annually and more mainstream awareness of the sport, it looks as if Rugby and the teams making up the different divisions and clubs will only continue to grow.