As if watching women play rugby wasn’t already fun enough – who doesn’t love to see muddy girls tackle each other with competitive glee? – the Akron Women’s Rugby team is stepping it up a notch by hitting the pitch in prom dresses. That’s right – prom dresses. On April 26, the Akron team will host its second annual Prom on the Pitch.
Team president Cristina Lalli came up with the idea last year, inspired by other rugby teams that host homecomings at the end of their season. Only Lalli thought it’d be much cooler if the girls actually played rugby in their gowns. “We went to the thrift store and found the worst, ugliest ‘80s prom dresses we could find,” she says…
The result: Tough girls tugging on taffetas in a surreal moment where femininity and brutality collide. Even the members from the men’s team showed up for a motley match in drag. You can view photos of last year’s event at photographer Steven Meadow’s website
But the event is as much a fundraiser for the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina counties as it is a spectacle. The $10 each spectator pays goes directly to the shelters. Folks are also asked to donate old cell phones, clothes, and toiletries. Last year, the team raised $400, collected more than 25 cell phones, and amassed five trash bags worth of shampoo, toothpaste, and other goods.
This year, Lalli is hoping to donate even more to women in need. The event will start at noon and there will be three 40-minute matches. Lalli’s team will be face the fierce women of Oberlin College, as well as some stragglers from the Kent State and Bowling Green teams. After the gowns are good and destroyed, everyone is welcome to party with these fine ladies, who can hold their own at the keg as well as they can on the field. – Denise Grollmus