Posted at: 10/30/2012 9:45 PM
Updated at: 11/06/2012 7:31 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Mental toughness is a rugby player's biggest asset. Not only is it a physical sport, but the weather is usually less than ideal.
"That's rugby. It's gotta be raining, snowing, windy wet. That's the way we play," said Andrew Imig.
Imig is one of the Twin Ports Ice Monkeys, a men's senior rugby team based out of Duluth. He is a youth rugby coach, but this is his first year suiting up as a player.
"It's hard to get your point across as a coach unless you've been there and can say, well this is what you'll see on the field. This is how you get it done," Imig said.
The Ice Monkeys began competing again this spring after a seven-year hiatus. It's been a successful season. On Saturday, they played St. Cloud for the Minnesota Division 3 championship. The Twin Ports team won their first match against St. Cloud earlier in the season. But on this day, victory belonged to the Bottomfeeders.
"They played a better match. We just really beat ourselves," said Taylor Schnell. "We left a lot of points on the board. There's not much we can do about that. Today just didn't go quite our way."
Energy and adrenaline run high on the rugby pitch. But off the field, Mitch Scudamore says teams are tight knit, and opponents become friends.
"I think the thing that really pulls us all together is our passion for the game," Scudamore said. "We love the sport. Once you've played it once, you're hooked."
"We are still competitive," Schnell said. "Every team wants to come out here and win. But you have to put that aside after the game."
Saturday wasn't their day, but this isn't the end of the road for the Twin Ports squad. They qualified for the Midwest Regional and will face off against top seed Iowa this weekend.