1. "You play rugby!?", accompanied by a head to toe scan of your body, is the typical response when someone (usually a male someone) learns that you play the sport. Believe it or not, female rugby players are not ugly, bearded, 300-pound lesbians.
2. Every body type, nationality and skill set is welcome, if you are willing to work your butt every time you set foot on the pitch.
3. The bond you have with your teammates is unlike anything you will experience in any other sport. After a full game of pushing yourselves further than you thought possible, putting your hands and faces waaayyyy too close to each other, and protecting each other from getting killed on the field, a certain unexplainable closeness is inevitable.
4. Grudges are left on the field. Nothing surprised me more than seeing how opposite teams interacted in the clubhouse after even the toughest of games. Each side understands that in this incredibly physical sport, injuries happen, and competition ends when the last whistle blows.
5. Adrenaline is an incredibly potent drug that manages to keep all the pains at bay until you finally slow down and step into the shower. Then you can expect to limp, cry out and need bandages for the next week, leading people you interact with to think that you are a battered wife/girlfriend.
6. Rugby is not a cute sport. You are covered in tape, wearing a mouthguard, have your nails cut as short as possible, no jewellery, and your hair pulled back as tight as possible to prevent anyone from pulling it. You are not there to impress the boys on the sidelines, you are there to kick some ass.
7. There are women who can actually outdrink men, and I am proud to say that many of them are my former teammates!