Do I have to be gay?
No, we welcome anyone who believes in equality. Teams like the Chicago Dragons were founded because gay and bisexual men did not always feel like they could play rugby and be themselves with teammates. The Chicago Dragons is a club where every man, whether he’s into men, women, both or neither is comfortable being himself and enjoying the sport of rugby.
Rugby is as much social as it is competitive. You will spend as much (or more) time with your teammates off the pitch (field) than on it. The Dragons offer an inclusive social environment within the club while competing head-to-head with the other clubs in the Union.
Several of us have been out while playing on other teams and, while we made some great friends, it was often socially isolating. We enjoy playing on a team that does not tolerate discrimination and supports the gay community that also participates in league play that generally has teams made up of straight players.
So do you play other gay teams?
Some; but not all the time. We try to play at least one International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB) team within travel distance each season. We also strive for balance in our match schedule by playing teams that are not affiliated with IGRAB. We’ve made some great friends on the other teams that we wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to meet if we restricted ourselves to a gay-only league.
I don’t know anything about rugby or contact sports.
Our Coach, Team Captains, and Recruiting Officer are experienced at bringing the game to people who’ve never played before. Some of our best players came from sports like American football, soccer, etc. but still had to learn the differences between that game and rugby.
The Chicago Dragons will provide you with the resources to learn the sport of rugby, and will teach you everything you need to know about the game.
I’m an experienced rugger. Why should I choose the Dragons over another local club?
The Chicago Dragons are the only club in the Chicago Region that competes on a national and international stage every two years. We compete against clubs from all over the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, etc. The Dragons are located along the Far North Neighborhoods of Chicago, making it convenient for players within those neighborhoods.
The Dragons offer a rugby experience that’s hard to beat. Our members have a commitment to competitive rugby that strives to be as strong as any club in the Chicagoland region. We complement that with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere that both gay and straight players can thrive in.
As an experienced player you can be part of a program that’s on the rise. You’ll also get the opportunity to compete for starting positions and playing time quicker than at many other clubs. Most importantly, you’ll have a lot more fun playing rugby with the Chicago Dragons than any other team in town, and you’ll have teammates whom you can always count on — on and off the pitch.
What if I feel I’m not fit enough?
Even our best athletes had no idea what they were getting into physically. The Chicago Dragons’ training program provides for skills, fitness, and strength training. But don’t worry. You’ll be pushed by the coach, your teammates and by your own love for the game.
What if I’m not good enough?
Rugby takes a while to figure out. Like anything worth doing, it’s not easily mastered. But if you concentrate on having fun, your joy for the game will carry you through the learning curve. When it finally starts to click, it will feel that much better. We will provide you with a foundation to build upon with each practice and match.
Isn’t it dangerous?
Rugby is a contact sport, so yes, people can get hurt. Rugby is no more dangerous than any other similar contact sport, such as lacrosse. In fact, injury rates and insurance costs are comparable to soccer and lacrosse. Unlike many collision sports that involve equipment and padding (i.e. football and hockey), many rugby players enjoy careers lasting into their 40′s and longer.
The majority of the injuries that have sidelined our players have been pulled muscles or sprains – injuries not from hitting or being hit, but from not being properly conditioned. However, if you’re really worried about getting injured, you should consider that rugby may not be the right sport for you.
Do I have to be big to play Rugby?
No, you just need to be fit and aggressive. Because of the variety of positions and skills demanded in the game, athletes of all shapes and sizes can find a position. From the small, quick scrumhalf, to the stout, rugged prop, to the towering lock, there’s a position for all athletes.
What do I need to get started?
For the first couple of practices, you only need to bring a pair of cleats and a mouth guard.
After the first few practices, you’ll need to get to get a uniform (or “kit”), consisting of shorts, socks and a practice jersey. Game jerseys are supplied by the team.
Most football and baseball cleats are NOT allowed in matches (and not really encouraged at practice, for that matter). The front toe cleat is illegal and the cleats are too narrow and sharp. If you have a pair and aren’t sure, bring them out and we can take a look. Sometimes, you can simply cut off the front toe cleat and be legal.
Also, you are required to sign a medical waiver before you can play and/or practice with the team.
How much does it cost?
Currently, dues for players are $140 per season ($90 for students). Your spring membership carries through the summer for all social functions.
There’s another $70 paid once a year (in late August) to USA Rugby for your membership (called CIPP).
The uniform costs are about $30-$50 for socks and shorts. We’ll provide the game jersey. Good quality rugby cleats will cost you about $80-$100, but a cheap pair of soccer cleats will get you by until you decide if this is the sport for you.
When and where are practices?
During the regular season, we practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00PM to 9:00PM at Cricket Hill or Clarendon Park (Wilson and Lake Shore Drive), depending on the time of year. We also have the occasional extended Captains’ Practice during regular season on Saturdays without scheduled games.
When is your regular season?
Our fall season runs from late August through mid-November and our spring season from mid-March to late May.
When and where are matches?
During the regular season, matches are usually on Saturdays, traditionally starting at 1:00pm. We typically require all players to be at the pitch and ready for warm up an hour prior to the start time.
We primarily play home matches at Diversey Harbor. Away matches are usually within 2 hours of the city (though occasionally they can be as far away as Peoria). We do play matches against other Midwest clubs that sometimes involve overnight stays as well – all part of the experience of playing rugby. We typically have our match schedule posted 4-6 weeks before the first match to ensure that you have plenty of time to plan accordingly.
I don’t have a car – how can I get to out-of-town games?
We typically set up carpooling for matches. If you need a ride simply e-mail our recruitment chair at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to support the team, but I won’t be able to play. What can I do?
We have social memberships available for $55 per season. You are invited to all club functions, including the home match after-parties, for which we would otherwise charge a cover. This membership can also be purchased by your spouse, significant other, family, or friends who plan on regularly attending matches and events.
We are always looking for active social members to assist in game day logistics, photography, communication, marketing, fundraising of the club, and travel needs. Step up and help the Dragons today!