A pair of natives in the Philadelphia area hope to help lead the American football team to a gold medal in Tokyo


Christine Thomas was introduced to Sevens in a rather rude way: She was knocked to the tail at the University of South Florida. Ariana Ramsey started playing ball at Upper Merion High School, and every time someone came to her with a ball, she would curl up into a human speed bump.

It is impossible for people in the Philadelphia area to enter a more obscure women’s movement in a more direct way. When the women’s rugby game at the Olympics this week begins, they will play an important role together for the American team.

Thomas, 28, was a 2011 Harahan University graduate and received a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and drama studies in central Florida. She plays the so-called prostitute position, in the front row during scrums, responsible for “hooking” or “rake” the ball with her feet.

The 21-year-old Ramsey is a graduate of Upper Merion in 2018 and will start her junior year in Dartmouth this fall. The 5-foot-3 wing was a competitive cheerleader for six years before becoming a full-time rugby player, running and even wrestling on the track.

Ramsey said: “I think when I participated in the Youth Olympics, I began to realize that I could even go further.” “I like the track, but the track is personal, due to team reasons, I insist on For a rugby match on the track, I had to stay away from the crowd. I was recruited to play rugby at Dartmouth.

“My parents accepted. They know that I am always rude. I wrestled in seventh grade. It’s been a while since my parents let me do what I want. They let me try new things like rugby. Dad I don’t like seeing their daughter get hit, but my dad likes me to be adventurous and rude. My father’s excitement for me is more important than anything else.”

Ramsey received a lot of disbelief, followed by perfunctory questions, “Do the girls play rugby?” When she told people about the Olympic sports she participated in. “A lot of people don’t know what football is, let alone women’s games,” Ramsey said. “People are always shocked when a villain like me plays rugby.”

When Thomas was a senior at Hallahan University, he was introduced to rugby by a friend. However, she waited until central Florida before setting foot on the field.

She is tired of running and playing basketball. Rugby is a novel attempt. Thomas played for the Central Florida club team and played on the Southern College Tour.

“My first practice, a striker slapped my ass clean, but I really didn’t think too much,” Thomas recalled. “It’s kind of like a joke. This is the first football experience I remember. I persisted and kept showing up in practice. It was a really good time.

“It takes a while to get used to [after someone is tackled, two opposing players compete for the ball] It took some time to get used to. I have never participated in a sport like rugby. I like the body part, I like tackles and counterattacks. “

However, Thomas is in a dilemma. She went home with bruises and lumps, but in fact she didn’t tell her father that she was playing rugby at first. When her parents participated in the game Christine played in Annapolis, Maryland during her junior year, her parents Larry Thomas and Kimberly Jenkins cringed.

Over time, they began to accept Christine’s new enthusiasm. She lives in San Diego, California and plays for the national team full-time.

“I didn’t even think of such a thing,” Thomas said. “As a woman, we don’t have so many opportunities for full contact sports. Rugby provides such opportunities for women. That’s why I learned to like rugby. Most people don’t know what rugby is. They ask me if I use it. Clubbing. I tell people that rugby is a full-contact sport, just like American football, it has everything.”

The United States is considered one of the most popular countries, along with Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The Rugby Sevens game will start on July 29th. The United States will be in Group C with the strong teams from Japan, China and Australia. The medal match will be held on Saturday, July 31, the bronze medal match will be held at 5:30, and the gold medal match will be held at 6 o’clock.

“This team can go very far, but we need to play one game at a time, playing the way we can,” Thomas said.

“How good we can be, we can win the gold medal,” Ramsey said, “I think how good we can be. My parents and family will be happy there, but once I get home, it will be the same love And the same happiness, so I am very excited.”


Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sports writer in the Philadelphia area. He has been writing for PhillyVoice since its establishment in 2015 and is the president of the American Boxing Writers Association. He can follow on Twitter: @JSantoliquito.



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