‘For the boys’: Johnson City rugby club celebrates 40th anniversary


This years roster features 16 ruggers from all over the globe

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Johnson City rugby club has seen plenty of success during its 40 year existence, but the biggest accomplishment for the team can’t be found in the win or loss column.

“It’s an immediate brotherhood worldwide, it doesn’t matter what country you’re in,” former Johnson City player Jason Walls said.

Johnson City coach Adam Jasenak echoed the former rugger’s words.

“That’s the biggest, most important part is being with the boys,” Jasenak said.

A lot of the athletes on the team have a wife and family with most of these guys using the sport as an outlet, including one of the longest tenured players, Sean Stahlman-Pickel.

“It’s almost everything, it’s been such a huge part of my life. It’s the activity I say I probably enjoy the most,” Stahlman-Pickel said.

Rugby is known for its physicality, while also being a fast paced game that features plenty of speed and tenacity. It also happens to be one of the worlds most popular sports with the International Rugby Football Board featuring 101 countries as full members. Jasenak mentioned the confrontation is his favorite part about the sport.

“This is like my one true hobby and I just love it. I love hitting people, hanging out with the boys.”

The Johnson City rugby team has had a long tradition of hitting, while also tallying plenty of success and Jasenak wants to make sure this team lives up to those expectations for the next 40 years.

“There’s a little bit of an expectation, especially from our old boys organization and we definitely want to do them right,” Jasenak said. “I want us to be highly competitive and we have a lot of guys on our team right now that want to be highly competitive.”

Walls mentioned there might be some rough patches in the history of the team, but this squad is on the rise.

“It’s very fluctuating right now. We might have a good string of five or six years and people may move on and might die down for a few more years, so it is up and down,” Walls said. “Trying to get that club-like sprit back to it and I think we’re going to go forward from this point.”

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