College is all about new experiences and trying something that may be out of your comfort zone. Rashon Wade-Taylor did not expect to be playing rugby in college. The sophomore exercise science major from Washington Township has now been on the team since his freshman year and is loving it.
Wade-Taylor got into rugby after going to a club fair during his freshman year, not knowing much about the sport. He decided it would be fun to try out and it worked out for the better.
“I’ve never played and wanted to learn a new sport and gain more skills,” Wade-Taylor said.
Not many people know a lot about rugby, but it is a club sport here at Montclair State University. The team was founded in 1997 and has been very successful since. They made the national tournament in 2014 and look to make it again in the future. Although rugby is not a well-known sport in the U.S., up-and-coming teams, including Montclair State’s, have brought knowledge of the sport to campus and around the nation.
Wade-Taylor explained a bit more about the sport and what it entails.
“Rugby is a sport with great endurance and a lot of physicality,” Wade-Taylor said. “It includes running, passing and kicking all in the attempts to score against your opponent.”
The physicality of the sport makes it difficult for a lot of players, but Wade-Taylor, as well as his teammates, still love to play.
Wade-Taylor explained the team is like a family and this contributes to their success. Team chemistry is vital for a successful team, especially when not many players have all the knowledge they need about the sport.
“There’s not a day I don’t spend time with someone from the team,” Wade-Taylor said. “It’s awesome. We all are so different but love each other for authenticity.”
The team is made up of a variety of players with a variety of experience under their belts, but this does not stop them from being committed and wanting to play their best during every game.
“The rugby team is full of determined and athletic people,” Wade-Taylor said. “We know when to take a break, and it is truly a family connection.”
One of Wade-Taylor’s teammates, freshman Zaid Hussein, talked about the impact he has made on the rugby team.
“Rashon’s a real goofy guy who can be smart as well,” Hussein said. “He wants our team to be a unit of character and hopes to help every individual on the team grow as well as himself.”
As for the upcoming season, Wade-Taylor talked about some team goals that will help them out a lot this season – the more players they have the better.
“Our upcoming season is looking promising,” Wade-Taylor said. “We have a couple new recruits, and they are learning quickly.”
Wade-Taylor has some individual goals as well, ones that will help him better himself as well as the team – the more experience he has, the better.
“I want to become better as a rugby player so I have more to teach the beginners,” Wade-Taylor said.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is essential for being a great player. Wade-Taylor knows what he excels in and what he needs to work on in practice.
“My strengths are definitely being a team player, passing, running and tackling,” Wade-Taylor said. “My weakness are communication and self-placement.”
Outside of playing rugby, Wade-Taylor is very goal-oriented and wants to better himself as a person overall. He wants to be successful both on and off the field.
“I really like to learn the skills that are essential for the future,” Wade-Taylor said.
He also explained some of the specific goals he would love to accomplish during this semester and in life in general. His goals do not focus on just rugby, which is a smart mentality to have for a student-athlete. Having balanced goals and being able to work with that is what makes a student-athlete successful.
“My goals include getting a 4.0 GPA this semester, certifying for personal training, becoming a trainer, saving money for a house to live in (with our team), investing, staying more relaxed and becoming better at rugby,” Wade-Taylor said.
To connect his goals to the sport he loves to play, Wade-Taylor talked about how rugby can help him reach all of his goals.
“Rugby is just another way to stay disciplined, which reinforces the habit of getting better all the time and hitting goals,” Wade-Taylor said. “Every time we practice I want to learn something new or enhance my skills. Every day is a day to get better at something in my opinion.”
Make sure to check out Wade-Taylor and the rest of the rugby team in their upcoming season.