InstaBingham – Inclusive Rugby World Cup in Pictures
The Bingham Cup is the world cup of gay and inclusive rugby; it happens once every two years. The last one was just held in Amsterdam and was the biggest edition ever. Over 70 teams, more than 2500 rugby players, and tens of thousand of supporters, volunteers, friends and family gathered in the south of Amsterdam for the three day tournament. Dreams came true, new records were set, and memories were made that will last a lifetime. We’ve gathered together some of the best Instagram moments here to give you a taste of the event and to try and keep some of the magic alive.
Road To Bingham
Planning a trip for a team, or several teams, to arrive at Bingham in Amsterdam, was a mission that over 70 inclusive rugby teams, male and female, had to manage. Many clubs held fundraisers and worked in unusual and unexpected ways to make their Bingham Cup happen. The Kings Cross Steelers sent over 200 players and supporters, but it was The Sydney Convicts who grabbed global attention by baring it all to make the trip around the world from Sydney, Australia to participate.
Mark Bingham’s Mom, Alice Arrives
Mark Bingham founded the San Francisco Fog and Gotham Knights (NYC) gay rugby teams and the tournament is named in his honor. Bingham died in the September 11th terror attacks as a passenger on flight UA93 from Newark to San Francisco, that fateful morning in 2001. His mother Alice Hoagland, has attended every Bingham Cup in his honor and the tournament really begins on her arrival. The hosts of this year’s tournament were The Amsterdam Lowlanders, a Dutch gay and inclusive rugby team. Here is Lowlander team president Dennis De Boer meeting and greeting the lovely Alice at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport.
Fields and Fashion
The Games began early on Friday morning and ran for three days. Nine fields had been prepped and were ready on site. There were seventy tents to house the many teams, burger vans, juice bars, a jacuzzi, a sound system, a merchandise shop, a leather and rubber store, and a physiotherapist/medical area, all in place for a world class tournament. Of all the inclusive rugby teams at this event, The Gotham City Knights were perhaps the most eye-catching, due to their skimpy side-line attire, which can only be described as fetching.
Perhaps we spoke too soon.
The Beautiful Game
Why inclusive rugby holds such a special place in the hearts of the LGBTQ community is hard to say. To the outsider, it can look like a rough and dangerous sport, and in many ways it is. But, to those who play rugby, the men, woman, and trans players, the big and small guys, the insiders, outsiders and inbetweeners, it’s a game of beauty, it’s inclusive, and brings everyone together. Rugby creates a sense of community and belonging that is priceless, which might be why it’s so appealing to LGBTQ+ people.
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Humor in Team Names
‘Gay rugby’, or ‘inclusive rugby’, call it what you will, the game is serious about tackling homophobia and raising the visibility of gay sports role models in a positive light. With that said, there is room for humor when it comes to some of the team names, from France’s Les Coqs Festifs, to Germany’s Munich Monks, and even Baltimore’s Flamingos (home of John Waters).
Injury and Ice Baths
There is a certain element of danger, and one wrong move or misstep can result in a fracture, twist, rip, or tear, which could mean you’re out of the tournament. Minor injuries can be remedied with ice baths and vigorous rub downs, but entire teams can heal and bond post game in the jacuzzi. Which would you choose, icy recovery or a warm team bath?
Of course, in a tournament of this size, the winners are everyone who worked hard to make it happen and all who took part, blah, blah, blah. The team who won in the final of the first division were Sydney Convicts. This means they’ve won 5 out of the 9 Bingham Cups in the history of the tournament. Well worth the strip show to raise funds and travel around the globe.
The Next Bingham
The next Bingham Cup will be in 2020, and both Mendoza, Argentina, and Québec, Canada, are bidding to host it. So, Sydney will defend its title in the Americas in two years time. Whether it’s the sunny South or the chilly North, it won’t be revealed for a few months to come. Congratulations to the Convicts on their epic win over Gotham Knights. A noble game and a fair win. And congratulations to Amsterdam Lowlanders for hosting and executing the greatest Bingham cup to date. You have set the bar very high for the next edition.