GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Athletes are proud of their roots.
“I wore it with pride, it was very important to me,” Matt Duncan said.
Matt Duncan treasures his days as a Daniel Boone football player, Class of 2010.
“Coach Jenkins, he was great and really hard on everybody and expected the best out of everyone and it pushed me to be who I am now,” Duncan said.
He took those lessons with him to college ball at the University of Charleston of West Virginia, then starting a mini coaching career back at Daniel Boone.
When it was time to hang up the helmet, it was his sister Jennine, a rugby player who helped him don his next uniform.
“We had a long talk and she’s like Matthew just come out here and try it there’s people out here that will help you learn how to play the game and everything so just come out and try it give it a shot,” Duncan said.
He was hooked, and joined the Seattle Rugby Club with her. She moved on to play for Exeter in the English Premiership League, while Matt just signed to a Major League Rugby team: the Seattle Seawolves.
“She knows a lot more about rugby than I do so she’ll watch some of my games sometimes and be like ‘you need to do this, this, and that’ and it’s humbling that she gives me direction but I’m very grateful for it because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” Duncan said.
Maybe they’re too old for that sibling rivalry to spark, but he’s never too old to stop appreciating his Northeast Tennessee roots, even in a new ballgame.
“It is a little bit like football and soccer mixed together but there are elements of other sports mixed in like basketball and even wrestling and when we’re lifting people in lineouts that’s kinda like some of the stuff they do in cheerleading,” Duncan said.