Women’s rugby dresses up the competition

By Phoebe Greenwald ’16

This past Saturday was an auspicious day for HCWRFC. Indeed, many of us will remember the April 27 as a balmy, mid-sixty degrees day. But the spring weather was not the only highlight of the weekend. Rather, the pleasant afternoon provided the perfect backdrop for the much acclaimed annual “Prom Dress” face-off between Hamilton women’s rugby and Cornell.

At 1 p.m. the ladies assembled, socks pulled up to their knees, faces set in a grim line, ready to face their ivy-league opposition in a true testament to strength and tackling prowess. All was solemn in those few moments preceding kickoff, save the slight flutter of prom dresses swinging in the breeze.

Each and every player wore a prom dress…or at least something of the prom persuasion. Some dresses had a slight 50s twist to them; others were reminiscent of medieval times or perhaps a grandmother’s favorite summer dress.

Whatever the style, the game was the same. The match started out as ferocious as ever, and for much of the first half, the teams were head-to-head, balancing one try with another.

Packie Captain Hannah “Wags” Wagner ’15 commented on the nature of the game, saying that “everyone took a few minutes to get into the game–it’s really different to play in a dress.” She went on to say that “after 20 minutes, we really stepped up and took control.”

Take control they did. By the turn of the second half, Hamilton had a solid lead. The girls began to settle into their groove and overlook the peculiar feel of a fragile garment.

Casey Brown ’16 scored the first try of the game—the first of her career—partway through the first half.

Wagner followed suit several minutes later with a memorable try. After a tenacious run down the field, Wagner’s dress was torn entirely to pieces. She lamented “There is a whole new element to the game when you are wearing dresses. They definitely aren’t as durable as our uniforms!” She reflects on her first try, saying, “at one point my dress got ripped off but I just kept running.” Hannah Ferris ’16 was impressed by the way Wagner did not stop even after losing part of her unusual attire. “It made the game so much more dramatic ...  that is how you score a try,” Ferris said proudly.

Kelly Foran ’16 followed Wagner’s success with another peculiar play. After kicking the ball several meters down the field, the backie flopped onto the ball to secure the point. She stood up triumphant, smiling in her single-shouldered, mossy-green dress.

Of course the action didn’t stop there. Wagner attests that she knows “at least two other people [who] had to put new dresses on during the game because they got so ripped.”

Rebecca Gaines ’15 added her thoughts on why the highly anticipated prom match is so beneficial to the team. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Gaines. “We take ourselves pretty seriously as a team and this was a great way to have fun and end the season.”

For Sarah Fishman ’16, it was a reminder of “why I love being a part of Hamilton College Women’s Rugby.”

Whatever the rhyme or reason, the annual prom dress game is here to stay. Wagner said, “We have a great relationship with them and really like to play them in this awesome tradition.”

For those who missed it, fortunately rugby prom is here to stay. For those more eager for some women’s rugby, do not miss the alumni game this weekend.


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