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 (April 2017): Courtney Hendrickson

Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Courtney Hendrickson (Corn Dog/Corny)

Hometown: Escondido, CA

Position(s) played: Center, wing, fullback

All Blues since: 2016

Studied: Wildlife Biology and Geography

The Courtney Hendrickson.  Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

The Courtney Hendrickson.  Photo credit: Vic Abrenica

     Although a relative newcomer to rugby, Courtney is not a stranger to high-level competition.  She played field hockey for Cal, where she was named NorPac West Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, registering 136 saves with a .791 save percentage that year. During her last semester at Cal, she decided to join the women’s rugby team (and “not a second too late”).  Asked how she first started playing rugby, Courtney answers that she figured that she “[liked] contact…and running with a purpose.  It just made sense.”  She learned about the All Blues through the many members of the team who visited Cal as “celebrity coaches”, listing Katie Chou, Irene Gardener, Katy Augustyn, and Lisa Dombroski as some of those who came “and imparted their knowledge on us young plebs.”

     Last winter, Courtney was invited to participate at the National All-Star Competition (NASC) in Tigertown, FL.  The NASC is one of the pathways that the USA women’s national team has to identify players that may be a good fit for its international 7s and 15s program.  The competition was eye-opening for Courtney.  She found that “people [were] REALLY good at rugby” and that she “[needed] to consume more protein and lift more.” On the first day, unsure about what position she should play, she got put in to train with the wings.  Later, however, her coach decided to put her in as a center, which became the position she played throughout her time at the camp.

     While at NASC, she was roommates with Kelly Griffin, who is on the women’s national team and is also an All Blues alum. Courtney relays her “super awkward” first encounter with Griff a couple weeks prior, at a Santa Barbara camp.  Courtney had just found out that she was paired to be roommates with Griff at NASC, when suddenly Griff walks into the room.  Courtney happened to be sitting almost right in front of the doorway.  Completely star-struck, she hurriedly got up, repeatedly trying to shove the chair away so that Griff could get by.  All the while she stumbled on her words.  Griff, confused, just asked her, “What are you doing? Just give me a hug,” to which Courtney acquiesces “ooooooookaaay.”  She ended up asking Griff for a lot of advice. Courtney thought it was “so freakin’ cool” that the veteran player never ran out of patience with her questions.

     As an All Blue, Courtney’s favorite memory thus far this D2 season was “watching our rookie, Masha Kourjanskaia score her first try.” She says that what she likes most about being on the All Blues is “being surrounded by people who genuinely want you to be your best…and who are okay with how weird I am.” And as much as the team supports her in rugby endeavors and in being her weird self, so does Courtney return the favor.  Evan Hoese, current All Blues backs coach for the D2 season, says that over the past year Courtney has been “constantly seeking new opportunities to improve, and always building up the people around her. Courtney's speed, strength and vision always make her a threat on offense and defense. However, her true strength comes from her indefatigable spirit. She always puts the team first.”

     When Courtney is not playing rugby, her favorite pastime is annoying Oya.  She also likes to raise fish and house them in fancy space-themed aquariums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player profile: Tisha Waki

Name (plus any rugby nickname(s)): Tisha Waki (TW, Trisha Walker, Wakitalkie, Sneaky Asian)

Hometown: Covina, CA

Position(s) played: Scrumhalf, Center, Wing

All Blues since: 2007

How did you find out about us (i.e. what/who got you to come to your first AB practice?) I played at Cal and we used to share our practice field with the All Blues.  For my former classmates and I, it was the next logical thing to do if we wanted to keep playing rugby

When did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it?  I started playing my senior year of college.  I had a friend who had one of the rugby girls in her class and rugby intrigued her.  One day she turned to me and said, "Tisha, you are the most athletic person I know.  Will you play rugby with me?"  I shrugged my shoulders, and said "Why not?"  (I didn't have any lab classes the following year and figured I had the time).     

Do you have other passion(s) besides rugby?  Can you tell us a bit more about that?  Playing bingo.  Started playing at the New Parkway when rugby is not in season.  It reminds me of my grandma as she was pretty into it.  Once went on a trip to Las Vegas with my family and basically all the gambling I did was at a bingo parlor with my grandma.  Bingo parlors in Vegas are intense.

What do you like most about being on this team?  Friendship with teammates,  the history, the challenge presented to me by my teammates

Can you share a funny/exciting/memorable story from your time as an All Blue?  Winning Ruckstar sevens in Dallas, and getting Irene to drive us to McDonalds afterwards.

What is your spirit animal? Will you tell us why? Polar bears because they are awesome.  

Can you tell us a bit more about "Trisha Walker"? Who is she? When will we see her again? (Jk...but feel free to answer this too)  Trisha Walker was the result of a mispronunciation of my name.  USA Rugby likes players to submit phonetically pronunciations of our names.  I was telling my teammates about this one time I was in the waiting room for the Doctor.  A nurse came out and called "Trisha Walker"  I sat and thought that it could be me, but it was different enough to not be me so I didn't go in.  A few minutes later another nurse came out and called "Tisha (some butchering of my last name)" so I walked into the door.  As she was taking my weight, she kindly asked why I didn't respond when they had called me earlier.  I replied, " No, you called Trisha Walker.  They managed to add an "r" to both my names." She agreed with me. My teammates were jokingly calling me Trisha Walker throughout the entire weekend.  After the tournament, in our celebratory (drunken) state JT suggested that I change my facebook name and I agreed and did it. Once you change your name in facebook, you're not allowed to change it again for 90 days, so it kinda had to stick and had to explain to a number of people the story behind Trisha Walker and hence her infamy grew.  She makes brief appearance here and there, but the next definite appearance will probably be if/when I get converted to full time employee at my current job.  [I'm] currently working as a contractor as an analytical chemist working on a cure for Hepatitis C.

 

 

Player Profile: Kedra Davis

Kedra Davis kicks off our Player Profile Series!  This series aims to showcase a little something about current All Blues players.  Stay tuned for more! 

 

Name: Kedra Davis

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Position(s) played: Flanker, 8, Lock

All Blues since: January 2015

How did you find out about us (i.e. what/who got you to come to your first AB practice?) A girl at a U23 camp told me about the All Blues when I asked if they knew of any competitive teams in the Bay (because I was considering moving out here). I then facebooked the All Blues and they put me on the email list. 

When did you first start playing rugby?  What got you into it? I started my junior year of high-school (2008).  I really wanted a contact sport so I was looking into joining my high schools football team when a friend told me about rugby. I immediately fell in love. 

Do you have other passion(s) besides rugby?  Can you tell us a bit more about that? I am passionate about music in general as well as teaching music to young people. I have participated in  concert choirs, show choirs, bands, operas, and musicals for as long as I can remember.  I love creating beautiful music with other people. I began directing choirs in 2008 and continued directing different groups until 2015 when I got my first job as an elementary music teacher. I feel very strongly that everyone should have confidence in their own ability to create music and it is my mission to instill that musical confidence in the elementary students I teach. 

What do you like most about being on this team? I love the family I have found in this team. When I first moved to the Bay I knew one person in the area and since then I have developed an entire family that I know will have my back no matter what.  I also love that we can better each other as rugby players through both competition and comradery.  

Would you like to share what you do as part of the exec board? I am the social chair and I would like to create opportunities for the team to socially develop as one big family and one big team in order to create friendships that will last a lifetime. 

Bonus Question: What is your spirit animal? Why? Jack Sparrow. I'll let you draw your own conclusions there.