A rugger with the University of South Carolina Men’s Rugby Team, reaches the top of the confidence climb while navigating the Fort Jackson confidence course, Aug. 19. The obstacle makes one confront their fears and gain confidence in their abilities to overcome any obstacle they may face. (Robert Timmons)

Scrum of a different sort: USC rugby team samples Army life

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

The University of South Carolina’s men’s rugby team ran into a scrum of a different sort when they visited Fort Jackson, Aug. 19.

The team was on post as part of its preseason rugby camp.

“The boys all came back 10 days early to have practices and to endure some happy suffering that I call it,” said head coach John Roberts while the team clambered up, climbed over, and pulled each other over a variety of obstacles at the confidence course on post. The team does it to “get to know each other and get ready for the season, which begins Labor Day weekend.”

The tour is one part of the post’s efforts to connect with the surrounding community and the nation.

“Fort Jackson’s role in our nation’s defense is invaluable,” said Reginald Rogers, community relations officer. “We are the Army’s premier basic combat training center, as we train nearly 60,000 Soldiers annually. It’s important for us to remain a valuable partner within the greater Columbia community.

“Hosting tours allows the taxpayers to see how their money is being spent and the significance of what we do here at Fort Jackson: We make American Soldiers. Tours also strengthen the civilian-military relationship, and it allows the local and national public to come and meet the Soldiers who fill the ranks of their Army.”

The coordination between Fort Jackson and the team took four months of planning to pull off.

“This is a phenomenal event,” Roberts said. “We start working on this thing for months before and its just fantastic. The guys go through it, and it brings them together because this just instills confidence in their teamwork.”

The confidence course is meant to do just that, instill confidence. While some of the obstacles require one to dig deep to build confidence within themselves, others require teamwork to get up.

Roberts watched as members of his team climbed the confidence climb, a vertical ladder designed to help Soldiers conquer their fear of heights. It can also make those watching a little apprehensive.

“I’m gonna be honest with you, some of the high winds when they got up there kind of makes me nervous because I’m kind of weary of heights,” he said. “But I’m not too concerned because they’re under the expert care and the (2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment) staff do a great job with that.”

The student-athletes were under the careful watch of 2-39th cadre as they navigated the obstacles.

Not only did the cadre watch them going through the course, but they also led them in other activities as well.

“We did a nice little foot march with the dumbbells, sandbags and weights to carry,” Roberts said. The team was also led in a “great” warm up session on the physical training track and repelled down Victory Tower. They also ate Meals, Ready to Eat for lunch and finished off their day with a race through the Fit to Win 2 obstacle course.