Duck & Cover: She Loves to be a Dirty Duck

-Eleni Pappelis

After trying nearly every sport offered at Beaverton High School, there was only one that stuck with Zoe Wilson. At the age of sixteen, Wilson started playing rugby at the recommendation of her friend. Her school never had a women’s rugby team before Wilson’s friend, Sierra, rallied a team together. Wilson decided to give the sport a shot and went with Sierra to the first few practices. She immediately fell in love with rugby. This interest soon developed into a passion. She more noticeably felt this connection while transitioning to a college team.

Wilson was a freshman when she joined the Dirty Ducks women’s rugby team at the University of Oregon. It was during her first season that Wilson’s dedication to rugby was tested.  With a close score against Stanford, players rushed down the field fighting to win another “try” against their rival team. Unexpectedly, Wilson tore her meniscus in her left knee during the play.

“It was really hard because I just wanted to keep playing,” Wilson says. “It was really frustrating.” However, she did not let this physical pain hinder her from finishing the game.

Eyes teary from the initial shock of her injury, Wilson quickly composed herself and demanded that she would be put back in the game to play. She set aside her pain to devote all of her remaining ability to rugby.

Wilson is now a sophomore and captain of Oregon’s Dirty Ducks Rugby Club. As a result of her injury, she wears a knee brace whenever she participates in practices or games. The damage in her knee makes her more susceptible to future injuries and could possibly lead to a necessary surgery. Wilson believes that only the most serious of injuries could force her to stop playing rugby.

“I get a lot out of rugby, “she explains. “It allows me to feel like the person I want to be.”  Wilson’s experience proves that rugby is much more to her than simply a game. It demonstrates her strong character. Wilson is driven to win and dedicated to stay tough to support her team. She is determined to play the hardest she can, even if it means receiving a few wounds.

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