Rugby Traditions and Songs

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Persian American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/25/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Farsi

Description

“One thing that we do in Rugby is called ‘shoot the boot.’ So if a rookie scores their first try, which is just like a goal or the equivalent of an American football touchdown, after the game, they have to fill their cleat or their ‘boot’ with beer and drink it all in one go. The other teammates sing a song that goes like, ‘Why are we waiting, we could be masturbating, drink mother fucker, drink!’ So, yeah, also, in rugby, the team sings a lot of provocative songs after every game. A lot of them are about having sex, drinking, respecting Jesus, that sort of thing. The one song that is like the worst goes like, ‘Shit damn fuck a damn, fuck a damn damn. Some mother fucker just fucked my man,’ something like that. I don’t know the exact lyrics to all of them.”

Context

Having played rugby, I know a lot of other rugby players that are more well versed in the folklore of rugby groups than I am. I sat down with one of them and asked specifically about things I’d been a part of, and the informant very eagerly shared this with me.

Analysis

This is one of the only pieces I collected that I myself have experienced. I have shot the boot, and it is about as terrible as it sounds, but also works as a rite of passage. You aren’t a “real” member of the team until you have participated in this custom, which is very interesting. It also becomes a sort of initiation, as well, and raises the question — can someone still be a rookie if they haven’t scored, but have played for many years? There are some positions in the game that hardly ever score. This piece of folklore had me wondering where it came from, also, and if the sport’s roots in New Zealand and Europe started this, or if it came about when the sport started being played in the United States.