CPC Featured Player: Sally Shatford

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname/s): Sally Shatford

Hometown: Pasadena, CA

Position(s) played: 6, 11, 13, etc.

All Blues since: 2017

Best advice you have ever received about playing rugby: “The worst decision you can make is no decision”

Sally breaking through the line vs. SFGG during the most recent D2 season.

Sally breaking through the line vs. SFGG during the most recent D2 season.

       Sally first started playing rugby sophomore year of college at Colorado College. She had some friends that had already been playing who said she could give it a try. She used to play soccer, and missed playing a sport, so she came out to a practice and found that she loved it. After graduating, some of the same rugby friends who played at CC and also later played with the All Blues—Sydney P, Denali G and Monika R—encouraged her to come play for our team, and in the summer of 2017 Sally first donned our blue and gold jersey.  

Sally during her first season playing with the All Blues.

       When asked what her most memorable time was with the All Blues thus far, Sally said that the most recent D2 finals stuck with her. According to Sally, “it was the best game we played all season and made me feel and recognize all the progress the team had made in a few months.” She also especially credited the leadership team with her own personal rugby growth during that season. She said that she’s “never been on a team where everybody is invested in developing everybody else! It's a really nice atmosphere. I am not afraid to ask questions or make mistakes.” She appreciated that leadership explained not just what to do, but also the how and why. According to Sally the focus was “on becoming better at reading the field instead of [solely learning] very specific plays.” This worked out well for her, since besides improving her defensive skills, developing her field vision was her other goal.  

Sally catches a runaway Life West fullback.

Sally catches a runaway Life West fullback.

The 2018 D2 team at the end of season finals.

The 2018 D2 team at the end of season finals.

       Outside of rugby, Sally’s passions are cooking and making things. She is currently trying to improve her wood working skills, which she did a lot with her dad growing up. She also just recently earned her Master's in Geography at SFSU, successfully defending her thesis on mapping areas of income-based segregation and affordable housing locations in San Francisco. Congratulations Sally!

CPC Player Profile (September 2017): Emma Clery

 

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Emma Clery; “Clery” and now apparently “Ireland”

Hometown: Limerick, Ireland.


Position(s) played: Mostly centres. Dabbed around in most spots but haven’t gone any further into a scrum than back row.

All Blues since: this season!

Emma C. sporting the new All Blues game day jersey! Playing in 109 F degree weather in San Jose earlier this month versus the Glendale Merlins.  Photo: Vic Abrenica

Emma C. sporting the new All Blues game day jersey! Playing in 109 F degree weather in San Jose earlier this month versus the Glendale Merlins.

Photo: Vic Abrenica

Getting Started with Rugby

●      When and how did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?

I started playing about 9 years ago (I think!) with a local club at home Galbally. They were starting up a women's team for the first time and I used to play camogie (female equivalent of hurling which is a Gaelic game) with one of the girls that was involved and she asked me if I’d fancy it. My father used to play and both younger brothers play, so rugby was always the main sport that we’d go watch as kids.

Played then with Galwegians (“Wegians”) in Galway for 4 years in Div 1 which was brilliant and we won 2 All Ireland’s with them. Wegians nearly half-killed me on the social side of rugby but we were pretty decent when we’d get our shit together on the field!

 

●      Did you play any sports prior to rugby?

Played camogie and gaelic football which are both gaelic games in Ireland.

 

●      Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby?  If so, what is it?

Rugby is a simple game but as simple as it is there are always new things to learn and tweak about your game.  

Always have the fun and craic with your teammates but when you cross the white line and there’s a job to do, focus on that and work bloody hard.

It’s always good to have a beer after a game and kickback in the clubhouse or wherever.

Emma with the Wegians.  Photo from Emma C.

Emma with the Wegians.

Photo from Emma C.

About your time as an All Blue

●      How did you first find out about the All Blues?

Facebook and a bit of Googling of “Women’s rugby in San Francisco”!

 

●      So far, what do you like most about being on this team?

They are an easy bunch to get out with and can take the p*ss out of each other which I’m glad to see is a universal trait of the game!

These Rookie Skits are hard work though!

 

Development as a player

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

One of our first coaches in Galbally was Pat Bourke who was old school rugby but we became great tacklers from it – gotta love a good ‘ole game of Murder Ball every night at training!

George Naoupu at Wegians was our Kiwi coach for 3 years and was brilliant. He was a pro player with Connacht at the time and brought that thinking with him and really opened up everyone’s game and thinking. 

Player wise – Ruth O’Reilly of Wegians #Inspo!

Getting that low fend on!   Photo from Emma C.

Getting that low fend on! 

Photo from Emma C.

 

●      What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

Don’t mix vodka with cloudy lemon cider—ends in disaster every time! Pace yo’self!

 

●      Ireland’s a pretty big rugby-playing nation.  What was that like? (i.e. attitudes toward this sport while you were growing up, did people start playing it early, etc.)

The men’s sides of the game has always been there but has got much bigger in the last 10-15 years on a countrywide stage but Gaelic Games will still be the dominant passion for most people in Ireland.

Women’s rugby was pretty small up to about 6 or so years ago with little or no underage but it’s getting much bigger in recent times and more men’s clubs are setting up women’s sides. I would love to be 20 years younger and be able to play underage!

 

More about you!

●      Who’s your favorite rugby player and/or team to watch? Why?

Favorite player would have always been David Wallace (flanker) and watching Munster in the good ‘ole days between 2000-2010. 

Nowadays, you can’t look past New Zealand and the way they are cutting it up. Ben Smith at fullback for them is pretty class. 

 

●      What is your favorite non-rugby activity?

Gaelic Football and hill walking.

 

●      If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be?

Chocolate and mint would be the fav but I’m developing a disastrous love for Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food!

 

●      Any traditions from your old team you’d like to share?

Sunday Sess straight after a game in the clubhouse – need to find a clubhouse :)

Invariably ending up forgetting to go home!

CPC Player Profile (July/August 2017): Alex Boskovich

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Alexandra Marie Boskovich aka Bosko, at one time Alex before there was All Blues Coach Alex Williams...then it became Junior and later Junior Mint (per my request/candy affinity)

Hometown: San Jose, CA
Position(s) played: Blind side flanker (#6), “Prop” in 7s, one time I played outside center and it was fun as hell! I also have locked and 8-manned too.

All Blues since: 2008

Bosko, all smiles, after the All Blues bagged the championship title at the 2017 Tight 5 Sevens Tournament on Treasure Island (with Alyssa B creepin' in the background).

Bosko, all smiles, after the All Blues bagged the championship title at the 2017 Tight 5 Sevens Tournament on Treasure Island (with Alyssa B creepin' in the background).

Getting Started with Rugby

Q: When and how did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?

I started playing rugby in the fall of 2002 when I arrived at Pitzer College, the best of the Claremont College Consortium. I had been avoiding the swim team workout because I was pretty tired of being alone with my thoughts while not breathing/dying for long. I knew my dad was going to call me to ask how swimming for my college would be so I had to come up with an excuse/replacement fast. Fortunately, the Claremont Colleges Women’s Rugby Team had flyered the bathroom stalls and I found one. I called the recruiting rep—a super nice scientist from Harvey Mudd—and came out to practice and met a bunch of laughing, kick ass women who had never played the sport before. Dad called the next day and I had officially become a rugger. Go Foxes!

 

Q: Did you play any sports prior to rugby?

Swimming for my high school. Everyone on that team had been racing since they were 2...except for me. However, it really built up my aerobic base/ability to exercise without oxygen which is quite helpful in rugby. I also played volleyball in elementary/middle school. I am great at cheering. And finally, I ran one track meet in 8th grade. I ran the mile and I was on track to come in second to last until my “best friend” passed me in the last 50 yards….I also enjoy badminton.

 

Q: Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby?  If so, what is it?

Get back up. Rugby is such a testament to that mindset. It’s served me well in all aspects of the game and in life. The mantra of “one more” whether it be an extra sprint, an extra go in a practice drill, or even just a kind word to pep yourself and/or teammates up has been so valuable to me. Opportunity especially in the face of adversity is always there so why not get it? I get made of fun of lot for my love of quotes but allow me to reference one that I think also captures this concept: "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other" -Abraham Lincoln. That’s the spirit of get back up.

 

About your time as an All Blue

Q: How did you first find out about the All Blues?

Champagne Classic sometime when I was in college. We were accidentally entered into the senior women’s bracket and had to play against legends like the Mitchell sisters, Ashley English and so forth. I experienced firsthand what premier rugby meant...it did not include tackles because their running lines were so amazing and we were just dumbfounded. My college coach also wouldn’t shut up about Kathy Flores and Jen Crawford so when the time came to return home a few years later, I knew I needed to test with the best!

 

Q: What do you like most about being on this team?

The people. You can win all you want but if you’re not with folks that you can respect and truly celebrate all the glory that comes with rugby and just sport, then what’s the point. I am so fortunate to have taken the field and maybe a round of pub trivia or beer olympics with so many smart, passionate All Blues. All my technical development, and in many ways, personal too, comes from the rugby community, namely the All Blues Rugby community. 

 

Q: In your point of view, how has the team changed throughout the years you’ve played for this team? What things have remained the same?  

I look back and can’t believe sometimes that I’ve been with the club for almost a decade.  From what I’ve seen as both a player and former Exec*, is a constant commitment to evolvement in the spirit of pursuing excellence both on and off the field. Certain things have changed like me now being the old goose and the general decreasing average age of the team but it’s been so cool to witness/run after and hopefully catch up with this new amazing group of players and leaders. Their openness and adaptability to shift with the ever-changing rugby landscape in the US is quite impressive. One thing that I have to give a shout out for in terms of change is media. We actually have a presence now! Way to go media team!! Also, GroupMe. That’s been new and fun. #highqualitymemes

*Editor: Bosko served as President of the All Blues—POTAB—before Phoebe Boone and current POTAB Bridget DeSantis

 

Development as a player

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

Oh, this is super hard because I actually have a long list of folks in my head about who has contributed to my rugby development. It’s “turn on the music”, usher you off the Oscars stage long. If I had to choose, it would have to be Kathy Flores. She really is the woman, the myth, the legend. She not only taught me to be a better player but also brought out a confidence in me that I could carry both on and off the field.  Literally. I remember turning in my player self evaluation and almost every skill section she scored me on included a note that said “ability but no confidence”. Kathy’s honest feedback coupled with clear and simple goals for me to work on really helped me take my game to the next level. And ultimately, she simply gave space to listen to me when I needed it and kept me moving/”out of my head” when it was time. I’m really very honored to call Kathy a mentor and a friend.

I also have to give Laura Cabrera a big shout out too. My defensive skills really sharpened playing under the pressure of the 7s games. Laura set the bar high and always inspired me to go for it!

 

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

“Come play rugby!” It’s really a life changing decision….

 

Q: As a new mom, how do you balance taking care of Ben, work, [insert other responsibilities here], and playing rugby?

Jared. My husband is incredible and fortunately a rugby player so he gets why my involvement with the All Blues is important. Aside from having his support, I’m also lucky to have All Blue teammates/besties—Julie Kieu and Katie Chou—who help watch Ben, offer to grab me groceries when they’re out, give me a ride to the next conditioning workout, cook together, etc. They say it takes a village to raise a child and that is absolutely true. I’m so happy Ben is growing up in this community.  Finally, rugby involves a lot of direct and clear communication. So when a potential work event may come up, I’m definitely more comfortable saying “No, I have other obligations I need to attend to tonight”.

 

Other Fun Stuff

Q: Who’s your favorite rugby player/team to watch? Why?

I don’t have a favorite but I do really enjoy watching 7s and am pumped about the 7s World Cup being in San Francisco next summer. I prefer Southern Hemisphere style rugby and for some reason the Argentinian National team aka the Pumas are just adorable to me.  But I’ll end with this, watching any of my teammates on a media platform like a live stream or THE OLYMPICS is just incredible and even sometimes emotional #sportsequitynow

 

Q: What is your favorite non-rugby activity?

Eating with friends.

 

Q: If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be?

Fenton’s February seasonal “Chocolate Raspberry”

 

Q: Most memorable thing for which you’ve gone to Kangaroo Court for?

Hmmm court, I can’t remember. I’m pretty untouchable. Just kidding. I did receive a team Muilligan award from Coach Alex Williams for tripping over myself super hard in a game against ORSU. I thought no one saw…

 

CPC Player Profile (June 2017): Cathy Cai

From last month's featured player, Elvi Figueroa: "I recommended [Cathy] because she's very strong and determined. She's made more key tackles than I can count and is always there for her teammates. She doesn't hesitate when it comes to offense or defense. Plus she's a very positive and happy person on and off the field!"

 

Full Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Cathy Cai

Hometown: San Francisco
Position(s) played: flanker, inside center

All Blues since: 2016

Photo: Travis Prior

Photo: Travis Prior

AB: How did you find out about us (i.e. what/who got you to come to your first AB practice?)

CC: I played for Cal Women’s Rugby, so naturally I heard of the Berkeley All Blues. They are sister teams, right?

 

AB: When and how did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?

CC: I started playing rugby my senior year of college. During my freshman year, a floor mate tried to recruit me to play for Cal. I had a lot of misconceptions about the sport and culture. I was hesitant to join, but playing rugby was something that constantly stayed at the back on my mind. Finally, I gave it a shot my senior year of college and haven’t looked back. It was helpful to find a friend that agreed to go to the first practice with me.

 

AB: Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby?  How do you get into “the zone”?

CC: My mindset when I go to practice is to have fun. I understand there are times when I need to focus and listen to my coaches/teammates, but for the most part I try to laugh as much as possible. We have some of the best coaches so I have the privilege of learning a lot about the game of rugby while also playing with some of the most athletic and amazing teammates.

I don’t really get into the “zone” for rugby. If I think too much before games, I become nervous and get tunnel vision. Something that helps me prepare for rugby games is to stay relaxed and nonchalant. I occasionally will listen to indie folk before games to keep my nerves down.
 

AB: What is your best memory, thus far, as an All Blue?  What do you like most about being on this team?

CC: Sevens nationals last year was my favorite weekend with the team. We played as a team and held our own. I also loved celebrating at the end of the tournament because I was able to see some crazy sides to my teammates. I love the social aspect of the team most. We go onto the pitch and get what we need to get done, done. But the best part is coming together after a tournament to socialize and celebrate.

Photo: Travis Prior

Photo: Travis Prior

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

CC: Evan Hoese [edit: current All Blue; 2017 spring season coach] has really helped me improve my knowledge of the game. She does an excellent job translating her knowledge to less experienced players. Every time I have a question, she clearly and concisely answers it.

Something that was particularly constructive was to have a one-on-one conversation right after our games. The game was still fresh on our minds and it was extremely helpful to ask any questions that may have arisen, answered.

 

AB: What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?

CC: If you start conditioning during the season, you are already too late. Staying in mental and physical shape starts before the season begins. This is something that I struggle with because everyone on my team knows I hate to condition. I have learned that finding friends to do conditioning with is the best way to stay motivated.

 

AB: Who’s your favorite rugby player/team to watch?

CC: I wouldn’t say I particularly have a favorite rugby team. I love watching Women 7’s rugby in general. I am excited anytime this sport gets any exposure. However, if you were twisting my arm and said I had to choose a team, I would have to choose the Black Ferns. They play some of the most dynamic and consistent rugby.

Photo: Vic Abrenica

Photo: Vic Abrenica

AB: What is your favorite non-rugby activity?

CC: I don’t have a lot of opportunity to do this but I love to travel. One country I hope to travel to in the future is New Zealand. It’s a beautiful country with a strong rugby culture. 

 

AB: Did you use to play any sports previously?

CC: In the past, sports that I have competed in are basketball, volleyball, track and field, and Olympic weightlifting.

 

AB: Anything else you’d like to share with us? 

CC: Besides rugby, I am passionate about address health disparities in minority populations. I am fortunate enough to work at UCSF on cancer disparity research that focuses on closing the disparity gap in communities with low socioeconomic status.