Great writing at college paper can inspire hope, fairness… excellent rugby

I recently saw YourScrumhalfConnection post to facebook a link to a story from The Spectator, a paper at Hamilton College in New York.

The article was about the dominant prowess that their womens’ rugby team possesses and how they have recently moved up from Division II to Division I. I was not only impressed with the writing, the depth that the writer went into to show how this team prepares, but also the fact that he didn’t stick to stereotypically “feminine” words as many times, writers will when focusing on females in athletics.

Below is the letter to the editor that I sent in, whether it gets published or not, I am so very happy and proud that a writer (who is not a woman on a rugby team) is taking the time to tell this team’s story.

To The Spectator Staff and Jonathan Fung in particular,

Thank you for not following the popular wave that exists at countless sports desks in newsrooms across the nation at big city papers, little local weeklies and up-and-coming college publications.

As a female sports writer and an alumna of a highly dominant Division 1 womens’ rugby team, it is discouraging and deprecating not to mention completely unfair and biased when powerful college womens’ rugby programs are ignored by their own school papers despite their continued and proven success.

I saw your article (Rugby Proves Worth As Division I Team) posted by YourScrumhalfConnection on Facebook and even though I don’t know a darn person on the team, I was happy not only for them, but for The Spectator.

Talk about parity, equal coverage and looking out for the typical little guy (gal, in this case). As a writer, that is what journalists should strive to do – tell the story that would otherwise go untold.

Now as a coach, still a player and covering more sports than I have in years before, I see how easy the choice is to do exactly what you did, but there are obstacles nonetheless. You have surely made an ally in me and probably in the womens’ team at Hamilton – and you will come to find that ruggers are probably the greatest people in the world to have on your side.

Thank you and congratulations in a great piece, a great step and acquiring some new readers.


Amber L. Vaillancourt

From reading the piece, it is clear they deserve coverage; with their shut-outs, incredible work ethic and recent move up in the ranks, it is about time some college sports writer in the Northeast took a moment to realize the gold mine of sports writing that is in front of them.

So here is to you, Jonathan Fung! You rock, keep up the good work and keep covering this amazing sport and fantastic team.



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2 responses to “Great writing at college paper can inspire hope, fairness… excellent rugby

  1. Hi Amber-
    I’m the former president of the Hamilton Women’s Rugby team, and your post showed up on my Google Alerts today. It’s really amazing how Jonathan Fung’s article has spread, and I’m glad he’s getting recognition for it. He’s only a freshman, and put together one of the best articles I’ve seen on the team thus far. The women’s rugby team has been one of the most successful teams at Hamilton, but unfortunately, one of the least acknowledged. It’s fantastic to see them getting the appreciation they finally deserve!

    -Amanda Schoen

  2. Lesley

    Thank you, Amber, I found this post after Amanda posted it to our facebook fan page. I’m the current President, and I’m happy to say we are very fortunate to have a college paper that loves us, and much of that credit goes to Erin Hoener, the editor-in-chief of the Spectator. Last year, as a senior writer, she laid the groundwork for rugby coverage, making sure we had a well-written article for each game last fall. Unfortunately, due to the time constraints of her new position, it’s hard for her to write for us. Thankfully, she found someone else willing to take on the challenge.

    We’ve fought very hard to try and win the war against the non-believers who think of rugby as thugby, or worse, a well organized drinking team. It’s a huge obstacle to overcome, but step by baby step, we’re becoming recognized for our success and talent.

    Lesley Ryder

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