Manly Men: SF's Fog Rugby Team

Photo Credit: Sean Gustilo
What does the Fog remember about Mark Bingham [the 9/11 hero who had been a member of the team]?

First of all, he was absolutely a top-notch player. He had been a starter on the Cal Berkeley rugby team, which is by far the top college team in the nation. So he was a very strong rugby player, but what he found, as a lot of athletes found, was that it was really hard for him to bring his gay identity into the sporting world. That was really a big part of his motivation. He talked about it as an amazing inspiration for him that he could actually be a gay man and an athlete at the same time.

Were his teammates surprised that he did something so heroic?

No, nobody was surprised. He was always a very warm, very outgoing guy, and also just really fearless in the way he lived his life. Stories other players have told me include one where he saw someone getting mugged, and he just went over and tackled the attackers. So nobody was surprised about what happened on September 11, that he would display that kind of heroism.