This summer has seen the introduction of Shreveport’s newest rugby team, a women’s 7s team called the Shreveport Valentines. Why the Valentines you ask? Well it was chosen as an ode to Emily Valentine, known as the “First Lady of Rugby” and one of the handful of documented incidences of women playing rugby in the nineteenth century. Ms. Valentine’s memoirs document how at only 10 years old she was already practicing and joining in with the boys on her school team, the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh in Ireland. One day in 1887 her school’s team was a person short for a game so Emily was given the opportunity to play alongside her 3 brothers. As wing, Emily took advantage of the opportunity and scored her first try in that game. In her memoir she described the moment, “Yes, I had done it; one last spurt and I touched down, right on the line. I lay flat on my face for a moment everything went black. I scrambled up, gave a hasty rubdown to my knees.”
The Shreveport Valentines strive to carry on Emily Valentine’s tenacity and passion for the game as we recruit more players and bring women’s rugby to the forefront in the Shreveport area. Right now we have a roster of about 10-15 players of varying experience levels and are very excited for our last couple of tournaments this summer. Practices are held at AC Steere Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30PM-8PM. We welcome women of any and all playing abilities, experience and fitness levels to join us. We will teach you everything you need to know, just come with an open mind and in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Mouthguard and cleats are recommended as well but not required if you just want to try it out.
This weekend we will be traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the Cowtown 7s tournament so wish us luck! Otherwise you can catch us on our home field on August 12th at the 20th Shreveport Riverboat 7s presented by Horseshoe Casino and Hotel.