By Hannah Simon, Co-Sports Editor Simply needing to play a sport to stay in shape, senior Macyn Bass joined the Conestoga rugby team last spring. With no expectations of playing rugby in college and less than a year’s worth of experience, Bass is now on the cusp of signing a full-ride scholarship to play at...
By Hannah Simon, Co-Sports Editor
Simply needing to play a sport to stay in shape, senior Macyn Bass joined the Conestoga rugby team last spring. With no expectations of playing rugby in college and less than a year’s worth of experience, Bass is now on the cusp of signing a full-ride scholarship to play at Long Island University, a Division I program.
“My first practice, I said I’ve never felt better walking off a field in my entire life, and I’ve been playing sports since I was a little kid,” said Bass.
Having played varsity softball for two years, Bass turned to rugby after an internal conflict on the team. Also having played football freshman year, rugby’s scrappy and intense style was similar to that of the previous two sports, suiting his past athletic experience. Since beginning, Bass has played for the Phoenixville White Horse Rugby team, as well as Conestoga’s 7-v-7 in the fall. Most recently, this winter, Bass was named co-captain of the team for the upcoming 2023 season.
While playing in a tournament this past fall, a head coach of a different Division I team approached Bass, inquiring about his possible interest in playing at the collegiate level.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, I had no idea I had this kind of potential.’ You know, I was having one of those crazy moments where I (couldn’t)believe this (was) happening. And so I went around looking at schools that had programs, and I filled out LIU’s questionnaire.”
Within a couple of days, Bass heard back from their coach, Joseph Rasmus, who wanted to set up a meeting via Zoom. At one point concerned about getting accepted into college, the more Bass got to know Rasmus, the more the prospect of playing at LIU seemed probable. The two continue to have meetings, with Bass recently visiting the campus in New York, and currently waiting on his official letter of intent.
“Macyn is a very, very strong player,” junior teammate Elsa Burgo said. “He picked (rugby) up super fast, so he’s able to understand the game and give assistance to those who haven’t been playing for as long which is really helpful.”
Openly a part of the LGBTQ+ community since seventh grade — originally as a lesbian and recently a transgender man — rugby is one of the few sports Bass feels safe in his identity. According to Bass, people are generally familiar with the idea of gay and lesbian people but tend to misunderstand the trans experience, leaving him often feeling isolated.
“There’s a big difference when it comes to changing your gender identity and being more open about that because people don’t really get it. It’s hard to really comprehend what it can feel like to feel wrong in your own body,” Bass said.
However, there is a huge LGBTQ+ population in the women’s side of rugby, and the community has been vital in allowing Bass to fully express himself. Finding a safe haven in the Conestoga’s Gay Straight Alliance and then rugby, where a lot of people use pronouns that they weren’t assigned at birth, has provided multiple allies for Bass to lean on.
“I met a guy who plays for West Chester University’s women’s rugby team. It was really cool to meet someone like me,” Bass said. “It’s just been so accepting and nice to have coaches and teammates who understand it or are part of the community.”
Hannah Simon can be reached at [email protected].
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