Rugged Gay Rugby Players – Bingham 2018
The Bingham Cup is the world championship of gay and inclusive rugby. It will take place in Amsterdam in early June and it’s expected to be the biggest Cup in the history of the tournament. We decided to highlight 9 out of the 60 teams from around the world in a selection of player cards with some action pictures and vital stats. To spice things up you can vote for your favorite team player, and the most popular one wins a boat trip in Amsterdam for their entire team. So lets, meet some of the gay rugged rugby players competing in Bingham 2018 .
We’ve divided the 9 teams into three categories, Mainland Europe, Britain, and the Americas. You can vote at the end of this post on the live poll.
The Berlin Bruisers – Berlin The Bruisers are committed to the belief of inclusion, mutual respect, honorable and safe play on the field, while at the same time breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes in the wider community. Anyone is welcome to join, no matter how much experience they have, and whatever their body type; rugby needs all sorts of skills, shapes, and sizes to make up the perfect team.
Meet a Bruiser – Michael, Flanker
“When I started playing rugby I found a sport in which the aggression tends to stay on the pitch and the opponents and referees are respected, so that after competing furiously during the game, people mingle and share a good time with each other. I found that completely refreshing! The rugby culture is also quite welcoming towards new people, especially in Germany where it’s mainly an amateur sport.” – Michael
The Amsterdam Lowlanders – Amsterdam We’ve featured this team on the blog before, and they went viral last year with their naked calendar. The Lowlanders combine the love of sport with a sense of family across the team members. If you’re a Lowlander, you look out for each other. They took a full team to Bingham Sydney in 2014 and participated in Nashville 2016. This time they’re hosting the event and are running the largest inclusive rugby show on earth.
Meet a Lowlander – Pablo, Inside Center
“This is my third Bingham cup. The first one where I participated with the Lowlanders was in Sydney. It was a tough one, but we came back with a smile, even though we did not win any prize. To get to Sydney, we raised funds making a naked calendar. I think that reflects what are we able to achieve together. Together with the Lowlanders, we can reach places that seem far away. Since then, we’ve made a Lowlanders naked calendar every two years and enjoy this fantastic experience together.” – Pablo
Libera Rugby Club – Rome Libera Rugby Club is the first gay-friendly and inclusive rugby team in Italy. The goal of Libera is to promote rugby in the LGBT community, providing a social and sports environment where everyone feels accepted and respected regardless of their sexual orientation, and to help tackle homophobia in the world of sport. Moreover, given that about 25% of Libera’s players are heterosexual, the team is also a place for the exchange of experiences between two worlds, the heterosexual and the LGBT, that very often do not have natural interactions or meeting spaces.
Meet a Libera – Fabrizio, Right Wing
“I’m a 31 year old guy and I’m a bit ‘skinny’ (55kgs). I started playing rugby a year ago and it’s the first time that I practice a team sport. I joined Libera after a not so good period of my life; I needed to unload and focus my attention on other things. The passion for the game and a fuller grasp of the team’s mission came later, as I started to feel more an ‘insider’ of the team than an ‘outsider’. I’ve come to understand how beautiful this team is, not only on the field, but off the pitch in friendship and family. In fact, joining the team set me on a path to finding my current job.” – Fabrizio
Kings Cross Steelers – London, England The Kings Cross Steelers are a rugby team from England, based in London, which were founded as the first ever gay inclusive rugby union club in 1995. These guys take rugby super cereal and often do well at competition level. A Steeler will commit to training two nights a week for the full season and the club boasts 200 members, so it often sends several teams or squads to play at Bingham and gay rugby’s other big event, The Union Cup.
Meet a Steeler – Alex, Hooker
“Being a Steeler is more than just playing rugby. It’s a family. We train twice a week, have matches most Saturdays, and organise nights out/socials, so we spend a lot of time together. We respect each other, have a great time and look out for each other. I have made a lot of incredibly close friends from the Steelers. I’m definitely a Steeler through and through.” – Alex
The Birmingham Bulls – Birmingham, England The Bulls are the friendliest, and according to our favorite physiotherapist, Konstantinos, the hottest team in UK Gay Rugby. The club runs a touch rugby tournament each summer, provocatively titled, ‘Touch My Brum!’ And while the city of Birmingham might still be a little tame for gay tourism, they do have some impressive new buildings like, the library, and a fancy space-age Selfridges. But if all else fails, Birmingham’s only about two and a half hours from London by train.
Meet a Bull – Dean, Flanker
“It’s my first Bingham and I’ve been selected to captain the 2nd’s team, which I’m excited about as we’re just going out to play/have fun with no expectations. Being a Bull is awesome! You are part of a new family of guys who are genuinely behind you. They’re always there to help push you and it’s great to spend time off field with them.” – Dean
The Caledonian Thebans – Edinburgh, Scotland The Thebans are a proud and committed Scottish team. They’re Edinburgh’s gay rugby team and run a rugby clinic (training weekend) each autumn on the grounds of Murray Field, which for rugby people, is like a major big deal. Many newcomers to rugby can learn a lot of valuable information at the Thebans Clinic, and also get to see one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Edinburgh is truly a hidden gem.
Meet a Theban – Calum, Flanker
“Being part of the Thebans has been an amazing experience; I’ve met some of my best friends since joining the team. The Thebans have helped not only myself, but many other players through some tough times, which demonstrates the importance of support and brotherhood not only in rugby, but in inclusive rugby. The team has helped me develop not only on the pitch, but in many different aspects of my life and my confidence has grown massively. I feel I can completely be myself around my rugby family.” – Calum
Huarpes Rugby Club – Mendoza, Argentina Representing Argentina and our South American choice for this blog post, Huarpes, the team from from Mendoza. They are not sending a full squad to Bingham. They will instead send two players to team up with other players and either play under a barbarian strip (a special jersey). Barbarian teams are made up of lots of other teams in combination. Or simply fit in with a team that is lacking a few extra players to complete a full squad. It’s great to have two Argentinians travel so far to be part of the huge event and give a little Huapres flavor to the Bingham Cup. If they win the vote, it will be a boat load of burly barbarians.
Meet a HuaRpes – Miguel, Full Back
“I discovered Huarpes through a friend. He told me that a new gay rugby team was starting up in my city. I always liked rugby, so that made me feel comfortable and after two weeks I found the courage to start. And that was one of the best decisions of my life. I’m in love with Huarpes and rugby. Bingham 2018 will be my fist cup. My team won’t be in the competition, but I will. I hope, maybe, to make a try. Seriously, I hope to make some friends, exchange culture, and experience so many happy and funny moments.” – Miguel
Portland Lumberjacks – Oregon, USA Portland Lumberjacks RFC is an inclusive rugby club dedicated to learning, teaching and playing rugby; to forging new friendships; to celebrating others’ differences; and to giving back to the community through charitable and educational activities.
Meet a Lumberjack – Sam, Forward Lock
“This is my first Bingham and I’m really looking forward to seeing my brothers really push hard and commit to all the matches against these awesome European clubs. Being a Lumberjack is knowing you always have a supportive and loving brotherhood of hard workers and even harder partiers. We’re here to roll logs and kick ass, and we’re all out of logs!” – Sam
Ottawa Wolves – Ottawa, Canada The Wolves expanded in 2013 with the introduction of a women’s side. In 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 the Wolves traveled all over the world to take part in the Bingham Cup, one of the world’s largest amateur gay rugby tournaments. During the very first tournament, in Minneapolis, the Wolves competed in the Bingham Spoon Division, but ultimately lost in the final. In June 2018, the Wolves will travel to the Netherlands, where they will compete in Amsterdam for the Bingham Cup.
Meet a Wolf – Nich, Scrum Half
“I used to be an avid soccer player my entire life. My parents had me playing in minor leagues from the age of 4. But I kept getting in trouble with referees and players for being ‘too aggressive’ and kept getting yellow or red cards. Until one day, a referee came to see me after a game and asked if I had ever heard of Rugby – and suggested I give it a try. So I did some research and found that in my home city of Ottawa, there was this amazing inclusive rugby team, that would take any person regardless of skill level or knowledge and train them up. Now 6 years later, I still play with the Ottawa Wolves, and consider them all more like family than just teammates.” – Nich
Vote for your favorite Gay Rugby Player
You can vote for your favorite player right here, and the voting is already open. We’ll keep a tally on the live voting, and the winning team will be announced the 8th of June. Be sure to tell all your friends to vote for your favorite, and if you’re coming to Bingham, get your team to vote too.
If you have a favorite sport, or if you want to write about your own team, let us know by sending your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More ROMEO Stories
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