Manly Men: SF's Fog Rugby Team

Photo Credit: Sean Gustilo
What is the experience level of your players?

At least half the people come to us with no experience in rugby, and even with very little experience with athletics or group athletics.

What kind of training do you offer people who have never played rugby?

We train as a team twice a week, and then on Saturdays we either have meetings or practices, so the real new players might step off to the side and work on their basic skills, but where we are right now is we've grown a lot as a club. Last year, we really started dealing with our B-side consistently, so we have a great place for people who are new and want in on the game.

What is so important about having a gay rugby team?

I think the Fog story is really indicative of what's real special about gay athletics. It's about the ethic of inclusion and sportsmanship—and making sure that nobody is alienated and that everyone is having fun. Part of our mission has been to go after gay men and men of color—groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in team sports, and we got gay guys who were interested in playing the sport, but we also got straight guys who didn't really relate to the usual straight jock world, which is more competitive and not really friendly, and it's not a fun place to be.

I've had that experience. A lot of gay athletes and straight athletes on our team have had that experience. So increasingly the Fog has grown beyond being a gay team because of that ethic of inclusion. We're a home for everyone—we're a team, and that's what our focus is on.

How many of your members identify as straight?

Probably about a third at this point.

Do you compete against predominantly straight rugby teams?

During the season we play all the local rugby teams in the area, and they're all basically straight.