Player Profile (August 2016): Gardenia Fatafehi "Fehi" Schaaf

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Position(s) played: Flanker, 8-man, Inside and Outside Center

Year(s) playing rugby: 6 years...maybe longer but on and off for 6 years

All Blues since: full season with All Blues 7s during summer 2016 (played a little bit of social side in the past)

Fehi breaks through ORSU's defensive line.

Photo credit unknown (let us know!)

ABM: During the spring, you regularly play for the Sacramento Amazons, right?  How did you find the All Blues, and what got you to come to the first practice?

Fehi: During spring I do play for the Amazons. We don't have a summer 7's squad so I decided to come join the All Blues. The very first time I heard of the team was when I was about middle school or early high school because my sister-in-law (Cinthya Saafi) played with them. I also knew a few players so that made my choice easier to come to the first practice.

 

ABM: How did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?

Fehi: When I was growing up, Sacramento Amazons had a U19 club. I joined pretty late because my dad didn't want me playing. I joined the team my senior year in high school (2009) with all my girl cousins. It's fun playing the sport I love with family; we already have chemistry on and off the field.  My older brothers played rugby as well so growing up watching them [play] influenced me big time to play. 

 

ABM:  Ah, so your your dad didn't let you play until late in your high school career.  Do you know what eventually swayed him to allow you to play with your cousins for the U-19 team?

Fehi: My mom helped me out big time with convincing my dad to let me play. I begged her to talk to my dad so I can jump on the team with my family members. Even then, I couldn't play half as much as I wanted to because he wouldn't allow me to play on Sundays. Sometimes I would sneak off to practice without him knowing or have a friend convince my dad to let me travel so I can play on Sundays. 

 

ABM: We're glad that worked out--we can't imagine you not being able to be on the pitch! Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby?  How do you get into “the zone”?

Fehi: Before every game, I say a prayer. Before and after practice I say a prayer. That is my way of getting into "the zone". God blessed me with this talent so I never forget to thank Him.

 

ABM: During summer 7s, we particularly enjoyed seeing you run with the ball, because it always took two to three people to take you down.  Any tips you find helpful to do during training to help you break through tackles and gain meters?

Fehi: Haha...well, the trick is: don't stop your feet when you go into contact. During training, hitting the tackle bag and driving it a few meters with ball in hand definitely helps with that specific tactic. 

 

ABM: What were Club 7s nationals like?  Any fun memories with the team you want to share?

Fehi: Club 7's nationals were very competitive, as I expected. The level of competition is getting better and better. It also shows how much the game is growing in USA.

I'd have to say the best memory I have at Nationals was seeing all the signs on everyone's room doors from their spirit buddies. Those small acts go a long way for picking a person's spirits up. They build up your chemistry and make your bonds stronger.  They remind you that you're not only playing for your team but a group of girls who become family to you. 

 

ABM: Is there a particular player and/or coach that have influenced your development as a player?  In what way(s) did they help you?

Fehi: I give credit to all my coaches and family members. I take something from each person and develop from there. If one thing doesn't work then I'll pick up another skill from another coach or sibling that works best for me. 

 

ABM: Do you have other passion(s) besides rugby?  Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Fehi: Yes, I do. I'm in the healthcare profession and I can honestly say I love my job. Helping people and treating them with the integrity like they deserve is a goal of mine. I get to meet patients and learn something new everyday. It's a very humbling experience and it makes me appreciate life more.