The Rugby Football Club:
A Long Standing P&S Tradition


By Irene Lo’08 and Mark Mann’08
Since the P&S Club was founded in 1894, it has sponsored a multitude of extracurricular organizations. These organizations represent the diverse interests and talents possessed by the students of P&S, including athletics, creative arts, and community service. The Rugby Football Club, founded in 1972, epitomizes the spirit of the P&S Club. Not only does the Rugby Football Club allow P&S students the opportunity to share and pursue an athletic interest, but it also gives P&S students the opportunity to interact and collaborate with their P&S colleagues outside of the classroom and hospital.
   The Rugby Football Club is currently the only intercollegiate team at P&S and was one of the first organized extramural teams to be sponsored by the P&S Club. The club has a long-standing tradition with P&S faculty members, attendings, and residents having participated in the “pitch” over the years. Currently led by team captains Mauer Biscotti’10, Ron Galbraith’10, Elliot Grodstein’10, and Bryan Lanzman’10, the Rugby Football Club consists of approximately 25 team members, with about three-fourths of its members being new to rugby.
   Although the club is composed of mostly first- and second-year P&S students, third- and fourth-year students have been known to participate in games and practices whenever they are available or in town. Given the camaraderie developed among teammates over the years, it is not surprising that several P&S students can proudly say that they have played for P&S rugby during their entire P&S career.
   The Rugby Club begins its season every fall with team practices in Riverside Park. Practices take place two times a week, are low-key and instructional, and do not conflict with the academic and clinical responsibilities of team members. Coaching is generally provided by more experienced members of the team. Each season, the rugby club participates in matches against opponents from other medical schools, business schools, and club teams around New York City.
   Each fall, Columbia P&S Rugby also hosts the legendary John Wood Memorial Rugby Tournament, held to honor John Chase Wood’76, a former member of Columbia P&S Rugby, who died in 1981.
   During the 2006-2007 season, the Rugby Football Club continued its winning tradition by garnering wins in all of its matches, including the John Wood Memorial Rugby Tournament, which P&S has won the past seven years. During the fall of 2007, Columbia P&S Rugby continued its winning streak with four wins, no losses, and two ties in matches against the Columbia Business School, Stern Business School, Wharton, and the NYPD, including a clean 3-0 sweep at the annual Wood memorial tournament. The Wood tournament cup returned home to P&S for the eighth straight year.
   The P&S Rugby Club enjoys support from the Columbia University Medical Center, including financial support from the P&S Club, which is funded by donations from P&S alumni, faculty, parents, and others. The Rugby Football Club also depends on other P&S students to provide cheering and support at their matches.

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