What it’s like to live in a rugby house and not be a rugby player | My View – The Daily Collegian Online

I am a very selectively responsible person.

Do I turn in my stories for the Collegian? Yes (although sometimes it takes a while). Do I finish my homework assignments? Usually.

Did I miss the housing deadline last year? I didn’t even know it was happening.

So this past summer, when I was still planning to be homeless, I came across a miracle in a group chat. Someone (I’ll call her Jane) was moving out of her house and looking for a person to replace her — and the rent was cheap!

Given everything that I knew about Jane, I figured I would probably have some stuff in common with her old roommates. I set up a time to go look at the house and quickly realized that I had forgotten some key details about Jane. Namely, Jane was on the Penn State women’s rugby team.

“Did Jane tell you this is a rugby house?” one of my new roommates asked.

“No,” I said, “she did not.”

However, my roommates didn’t seem to mind that I’m not a rugby player, and the house was really close to campus, so I figured it would be fine.

When I moved in, I learned pretty quickly that this would be both a unique experience, and not as weird as one might expect.

Rugby House 4

The wall of Baker’s room has been covered in newspaper clippings about the Penn State women’s rugby team, dating back to 2007. 

First of all, all four of my housemates are gay. (Well, some are bisexual, but I’m the only one in the house without a girlfriend.) As a fellow queer — I’m asexual — this was honestly a plus for me. And I’ve only met one of their girlfriends, but she seems really nice.

In the “to be expected” column, everyone in this house plays rugby and I am comically unathletic.

It’s not like I’m completely foreign to Penn State Athletics — I was in the band for volleyball and basketball last year. But also I have absolutely no physical ability whatsoever, and honestly, I still don’t know what rugby is.

Still, in many ways, this living situation is pretty much what you would expect from five college students living in a house.

Our living room, which is where people eat dinner, has three couches and a very little table that you have to bend over to eat off of. The room next to the living room (which we basically use for storage) has a trampoline and a few protest signs in it. The decor in the house ranges from shelves of empty alcohol bottles to rugby memorabilia.

Also, being a college student and having your own house is really fun. I love being able to make my own dinner, I love having so much living space — including a backyard and a fire escape — I love saying “my house” and people saying “you mean your apartment?” And being like “no :).”

I’m still getting used to the extra responsibilities, but at the same time, it feels kind of good, and it’s rewarding to get them right.

The house itself is very weird.

Rugby House 3

The fire escape of Christina Baker’s house, as seen on Sept. 27, 2020

It’s a duplex, it is at least 100 years old, and the design is frankly bizarre.

I live on the third floor, which consists of my room (which is 30% closets?), a hallway that just leads to a space where we put a desk, a bathroom and some more closet space.

The walls are so thin that I have on several occasions thought that one of my roommates was having a mental breakdown, only to realize that our neighbors were throwing a party.

Also, the water tastes awful. We checked it for lead, and there’s no lead — it just tastes really bad.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: sports house = parties. And normally, yeah, I’ve been told they throw a ton of parties. However, I was very pleased to learn that all of my roommates are responsible, and will not be throwing or attending any parties this semester.

We all follow social distancing guidelines when we’re outside, and for the first month or so of school, we wore masks on the first floor as well.

We are, from my understanding, one of the few sports houses to have never had a coronavirus scare, much less a case.

Rugby House 5

The wall of Baker’s room is covered in newspaper clippings and other memorabilia relating to the Penn State women’s rugby team. 

We’re planning an elaborate Halloween party that only people who live here are invited to, in order to avoid the apocalypse that will be happening outside.

Plus, because they’re athletes, they take better care of their health than most college students. These people get eight hours of sleep a night. One time, I went downstairs at 8 p.m. and all the lights in the house were off. I had to use my phone flashlight to make dinner. I’m still confused about that one.

Also, everyone in this house is registered to vote.

My favorite parts of living in a rugby house are when someone makes lasagna (they made it vegetarian, just for me) and we sit outside and I listen to rugby gossip that I don’t understand. It feels like I’ve pirated the sense of community that comes from being on a sports team.

I have no idea whether I’ll be living here next year, and knowing me, I probably won’t know until May. But I’m pretty sure that I missed the housing deadline again, and the rent here is really cheap.

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