“Ready, kickoff!” Along with a kickoff command, some of the players in black rugby uniforms formed a “human wall” on the green field of the Luming Stadium in Weiyang District, Xi’an City, advancing forward like an iron barrel. At the same time, the quarterback’s ball bounces out like a bullet. The wide receiver puts his hands in the shape of a triangle in front of his chest and stares at the football in the air. “With a thud, the wide receiver bounces up and catches the ball perfectly, and the other athletes on the waiting field cheer. It was an American football game last weekend, and the real-time temperature for the day was 41 degrees Celsius.
There’s a threshold for playing rugby.
Running, passing, tearing, rushing, sweating together, feeling the trust between companions, enjoying the game of wisdom and strength. I’m afraid this is the charm of rugby, but also the reason why Xi’an American rugby has gradually developed.
Established in 2017, Xi’an Clouded Leopards American Rugby Club is now regarded as one of the larger folk clubs in the province, with more than 500 members with an average age of 25 spread across the province. Whenever there is a match, the players gather from all directions.
However, in the beginning, this sport is very niche, and can even be said to be “cold”. “When I first started playing rugby, there were less than 20 people in Xi’an playing the sport. At that time, it felt very fresh, and I felt that I had found a place where I could release my youthful hormones.” Chen Yuxiao, a newcomer to the game, is also a retired quarterback for the Xi’an Clouded Leopards American Football Club.
Whether watching the U.S. “Super Bowl” game, or “Weakness” and other film and television works, rugby players usually wear helmets, shoulders and other positions are also protected with appliances.
Chen Yuxiao to the reporter for the popularization of science: “because American football is a need to punch the sport, in addition to the head of other places are facing the risk of impact, so in addition to wearing a helmet, shoulder blades, waist, thighs, and other parts of the need to be equipped with protective panels, to reduce unnecessary injuries.”
Complete equipment is one of the necessities of playing a sport. If you want to play American football, how much does it cost? “A basic helmet is around $2,600, with better ones ranging from $3,500-$5,000. Chest armor averages $1,500, gloves around $200, and shoes around $800. So it’s more than $5,000 to outfit an entry-level kit.” Chen Yuxiao revealed. Don’t underestimate this set of equipment, if you wear it all on your body, it will be more than 20 pounds.
Xi’an rugby development on the rise
There are more than 20 rugby clubs in Xi’an. Before the day’s game, the players came to the field in advance to make preparations, one of the important content is the paddling field – players revealed that there are only a handful of standard American rugby fields in the country, so they need to use yellow tape on the soccer field to temporarily draw the boundary.
The game this reporter covered was a friendly match between Xi’an and Wenzhou clubs. Chen Yuxiao told the reporter: “There is no professional league for American football in China, so most of them are private teams like us. Beijing, Shanghai, Zhuhai and Shenzhen are leading the country in terms of competitive level, and Xi’an is still in the middle of the country, but it is on the rise.”
Chen Yuxiao has a basis for saying this. In addition to the current growing number of Xi’anese joining American football clubs, the addition of heavyweight foreign aid has also played a key role in the team’s improved level of competition. “The team’s coach from Turkey, who used to coach the local national professional league, has greatly improved the team’s discipline, tactical system, including clinical command configuration.”
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