Rockford Ravens Rugby Club begins season March 29

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I want to start this column by admitting I have never been to a Rockford Ravens Rugby Club match. I’m intrigued by the sport, and have seen rugby matches on television.

The other day, I received a press release about the upcoming 2014 Ravens Rugby schedule. The release stated they are trying to get the community involved with and aware of their club. I’m happy to try to help them with that endeavor. One of the things that impressed me was the fact that their matches are free to attend.

Currently, they are holding practices for their opening match March 29 at Will County. All of their home games are played at 1 p.m. at Blackhawk Park in Rockford. Their home-opener is April 5 against the team from Fond du Lac, Wis.

Those are the normal things I expected to find in a press release. The thing that really struck me as unusual about this press release from James O’Hagan, the publicity chairman for the team, was the following statement.

The Rockford Ravens are active volunteers and community organization supporters. We are teachers, bankers, lawyers, administrators, engineers, laborers, EMTs and even unemployed. We have both straight and gay members on our team. Our coach is from Ireland, and many of us did not grow up in this area. We are a symbol of the melting pot of Rockford.”

I understand the intention of showing the diversity of the team, but is it really necessary to state the sexual preference of the players? I’ll answer my own question: no.

I don’t think it matters to anyone that the Ravens have both “straight and gay members.” I’m certain the IceHogs, Aviators, Rams or any of the other teams or sporting clubs from Rockford don’t deem it necessary to publicize the sexual preferences of their players.

I’d respectfully suggest to O’Hagan that specific tidbit of information was totally unnecessary and that he might want to omit it in future press releases concerning the Ravens.

I hope to make it out to one of the upcoming matches this spring at Blackhawk Park. I can assure you it won’t make a bit of difference to this observer whether any of the players are straight or gay.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Feb. 12-18, 2014, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!