Why I joined a gay rugby club
Melbourne Charger Craig Burnett tells MCV why he joined the sporting team that’s about to head to the Bingham Cup.
I met the then-president of the Chargers, Sam Minter, at a party. He told me all about the Chargers, their ethos, disposition and aspirations, and encouraged me to come along to their Rugby 101 recruitment day.
I had never played a ball sport before, let alone rugby union, but I was intrigued by what Sam had told me the Chargers stood for: inclusion. It was a little scary, I'm not going to lie, to train alongside some very robust men in a sport I knew nothing about, but everyone was very encouraging and took time to make sure I knew what was going on.
Unfortunately, I ended up moving further out of the city which made getting to training hard, but the Chargers, in particular the club captain, Ryan Naylor, never stopped encouraging me to come back. The next year when I was in a better situation, I did return.
Nobody made me feel bad for going away or coming back, nor for my slight build and lack of rugby knowledge. They did nothing but make me feel welcomed and gave me the help and support I needed to become a better rugby player. I even gained a gym buddy from the team to help me better prepare my body for rugby.
The Melbourne Chargers are a great bunch of people and even though rugby is hard, sometimes brutal (I have the scars to prove it), I am willing to put my body on the line for them each week. I have made some fantastic new friends within the team and even a new best friend. I recommend everyone come down and train with us, or just come and watch one of our games. You won't be disappointed by the people you will meet.
For more information go to melbournechargers.org