The Traditions of the United States’ Military Academy Women’s Army Rugby Team

There has not always been a women’s rugby team at West Point. Originally a competitive club sport, the team was founded in 2002, and eventually became a member of the NCAA (D-1) in 2014. It was the hard work and grit of the founders that ultimately created this team. Many have asked how this was possible and the answer is the snow game. In 2002, on a cold winter day when everyone was inside, the ladies of the rugby team were practicing in the snow on Daily Field. The Commandant saw them playing across the field and decided they were dedicated enough to become a team. This tradition continues to be celebrated by the team every year. When West Point gets its first snow storm of the winter, everyone on the team comes out to play a friendly game to remember how much the team has overcome and where we are today.
Beyond the snow game, there are many are many traditions that keep the team close. For instance, the grass field at the rugby complex is never walked on unless it is being played on out of respect for the fallen players’ ashes that are spread on the field. The team is still referred to as WAR, even though the team is called Army West Point Women’s Rugby. The first team motto was ‘declare it’, now it is currently ‘together’. Together symbolizes always staying together whether it is in line on the field, or just staying together as a team. At games, the team huddles before kickoff and each person says what they are going to focus on during the game. At football games after each touchdown, the upperclassmen would take the lightest plebe and do pushups on the upperclassmen’s hands. Those are some of the many traditions of WAR!