What got you interested in rugby and why did you join the Crusaders?
I became interested in rugby because I knew it was a badass sport that would push me to my limit. In high school, I played contact sports. I loved wrestling and football because of the intense training and the dedication it took to succeed. That determination naturally led me to try rugby. I joined the Crusaders after graduating college in 2013 because I knew a player who I had wrestled against multiple times in high school. (I know! Two gay former-wrestlers from Jesuit high schools?! What are the odds?) I met them at Pride St. Louis the summer after college and never looked back. I fell in love with the sport and the team. I felt that having an IGR team in St. Louis was so critical that I helped get the team back on its feet after a short break a few years back.
What position(s) do you play?
I am a hooker.
How long have you played rugby?
I’ve played since 2013 but have taken a couple spring seasons off due to shoulder surgery and various other injuries. Now, I am officially retired and decided to help coach the club due to renal issues.
What do you do for a living?
I run my family greenhouse business. We grow and sell various bedding plants, vegetables, perennials, herbs, as well as mums in the fall and poinsettias at Christmas.
What's a fun fact about you?
I’m unusually lucky, I’d say. In college at my university’s basketball game, I won a free LaRosa’s Pizza in a dance-off to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.” I won $1,000 on a radio contest and I just won $8,200 at the casino on my 27th birthday a few months ago.
What's your favorite thing about rugby?
I love the camaraderie— that was the biggest reason that I wanted the team back together. We see each other twice a week for practice or matches and when we get back together, it is like no time has passed. We have that much cohesion; it’s beautiful. I have to say, my guilty pleasure is getting all bruised and banged up in a match only to crack open a cold one with the boys on both sides afterwards. We can be ruffians on the pitch and then buds off it. That’s how all sports should be.
Do you have any advice for people who are on the fence about playing?
Do it! No regrets! In my experience, no one has ever regretted doing something as much as they might by not doing something. What do you have to lose? Give it a try.
Overall, how has rugby affected your life?
Coming back to St. Louis after college was very hard. I definitely began to understand how transplants feel when they say that it’s difficult breaking into the St. Louis cliques. Joining the Crusaders gave me some of the best friends and acquaintances that I’d ever made in my whole life. That’s why I’ve stayed around after my playing days are over. This sport has given me a lot and I owe it a lot. In my years with the Crusaders, I have learned to be a better teammate and friend in a way that hopefully exemplifies what is meant when we say “With You.”